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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2007, 09:27 GMT
Honours suspect 'hung out to dry'
Des Smith (Photo: Sunday Times)
Des Smith says he considered suicide after his arrest
A former key cash-for-honours suspect has said he was "hung out to dry" by Tony Blair and contemplated suicide.

The CPS announced last week that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute headteacher Des Smith over "indiscreet" comments to an undercover reporter.

"After my arrest, Blair and his government did nothing to help me," he tells the News of the World.

The then adviser to the city academies scheme had boasted that its backers could be recommended for honours.

He admits to the paper that "anyone who knew anything would know I had no influence over such matters".

Mr Smith became, last April, the first person to be arrested by Scotland Yard detectives investigating claims that wealthy party backers were offered peerages in return for loans.

'No support'

He said that he understood the depths of despair felt by Government scientist David Kelly, who killed himself amid controversy over the Government's Iraq weapons dossier.

He said his original comments were "a boastful sales pitch" made after drinking to celebrate his 60th birthday and insisted no-one really believed he had such influence.

"I was bigging myself up. Anyone who knew anything would know I had no influence over such matters," he said.

Mr Smith said the ordeal had forced him into heavy drinking, ending a 30-year abstinence from smoking and had put his marriage under a strain from which he feared it might not survive.

"I too felt humiliated and professionally battered and ultimately alone".

"Even though Blair knew I couldn't possibly even have the know-how to offer a peerage in return for cash he never uttered one word of support or encouragement."


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