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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 14:39 GMT
In Full: Tony Blair's statement
Here is the full statement from Prime Minister Tony Blair after Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell found Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell did not breach the ministerial code of conduct:

I have now received a report back from the Cabinet Secretary on the allegations made in respect of Tessa Jowell and the Ministerial Code.

The allegation is that Tessa Jowell's husband received a gift and that she did not report it to her Permanent Secretary.

Under the Ministerial Code, Ministers are obliged to report any gift.

Tessa Jowell has stated categorically that she did not know of the existence of any such sum of money until August 2004.

At this time her husband told her that he had received a sum of money that he thought was a gift but which had been classified by the Inland Revenue as earnings, so that tax had to be paid on it.

As a result there was no obligation to report it since by the time she knew of it, it had been designated as earnings.

I accept Tessa's assurance that she did not know about it until the issue was resolved with the Inland Revenue.

In these circumstances, she is not in breach of her obligations under the Ministerial Code.

In doing this, I make it clear that I am not in a position to make any finding about the nature of the sum of money received by Tessa Jowell's husband, which is the subject of Italian court proceedings.

The Home Office has also re-examined the facts in relation to the extradition request.

As the Home Office has made clear, in late 2004, the Serious Fraud Office received a request from the Milan Prosecutor for legal advice about the circumstances in which David Mills could be extradited under UK law, based upon possible charges against him.

The request was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service who took legal advice which was passed by the Home Office to the Italian Embassy in May 2005.

As the Home Office explained to the Milan Prosecutor last September, it was normal practice to deal with such matters through diplomatic channels before Italy's designation in July 2005 as a European Arrest Warrant partner.

During this process, which was handled at Home Office official level in the routine way, there was no contact between the Home Office and DCMS at any level, or indeed with Tessa Jowell's husband.

There is therefore nothing to investigate.

Tessa Jowell is an excellent minister who is widely respected. I have full confidence in her.


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