Exclusive: Pope is Catholic!
Humanitarian intervention of a different kind:
Fresh details about the Ecclestone affair – New Labour’s first sleaze scandal – have been uncovered.
The Sunday Telegraph says previously secret papers show then PM Tony Blair personally intervened in the matter.
Previously Mr Blair maintained that the idea to grant Formula One an exemption from a ban on tobacco advertising had come from the Department of Health.
The issue of tobacco advertising had been discussed when Mr Blair met Mr Ecclestone – a Labour donor.
The party was famously forced to hand back a £1m donation from the Formula One mogul in 1997.
The cash had been linked to a decision to exempt the sport from a tobacco advertising ban.
The documents reportedly show then Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened to secure an exemption just hours after meeting the racing tycoon on 16 October 1997.
But at the time, the prime minister denied personal involvement, and appeared on a BBC programme to insist he was a “pretty straight kind of guy”.
Whereas he was actually as bent as a three bob note…
In the Commons on Monday, Conservative MP John Maples said of Mr Blair: “In his [previous] answer to us, he stated that no decision had been made on October 16th.”
He told the speaker: “This House must assert its right to truth from ministers and I wonder… how we can change our rules to achieve this.
“I urge you to give a lead in this so we can insist on full and truthful answers from ministers and a sanction against those who mislead us.”
Another Tory, Peter Luff, said: “Can you please… review the rules to make sure that errors of this kind made by former members of this House – probably deliberately – can be corrected.”
Mr Martin replied: “I am deeply concerned that two MPs have said they were deliberately misled.”
He told the MPs to write to him and added that he would ask his officials to investigate the contents of their letter.
A spokesman for Tony Blair said later: “There is nothing new here. All these issues were known and debated at the time, and the documents released are entirely consistent with his answers at the time.”
Strait is the gait and narrow is the way…