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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Honours: Main players' reaction
Here are the full statements from former prime minister Tony Blair, his ex-chief fundraiser Lord Levy, former aide Ruth Turner, Assistant Commissioner John Yates and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair on the end of the cash-for-honours probe.

TONY BLAIR

This investigation has ended as I always expected it would.

Those involved have been through a terrible, even traumatic time. Much of what has been written and said about them has been deeply unfair, and I am very pleased for all of them that it is now over.

I want to make it clear that I level no criticism at the police. They were put in an invidious position by the SNP complaint and had a very difficult task to perform.

The police were right to carry out a thorough and complete investigation. The government and the Labour Party co-operated fully with it. All issues have now been resolved.

LORD LEVY

I would like to start by thanking my family, particularly my wife Gilda, our children, my friends and colleagues for their unwavering support, and of course my legal team for their guidance, throughout the duration of this police inquiry, which has been incredibly long and really stressful.

For the last 16 months the people closest to me have had to endure the intensity and pressure of this long investigation. We are all relieved it is over.

Since the investigation began I have had every confidence that no charges would be brought against me.

Nevertheless it comes as a great relief that after a complete and thorough investigation which has been assessed by the country's leading legal experts I have been exonerated as we expected.

I do not intend to comment on the police's handling of this inquiry.

I am sure that if there are any issues which need to be looked at, others who are much more experienced and better qualified will do so.

However, I have been disappointed by the constant leaks to the media which have been misleading, factually inaccurate and personally damaging to me.

I have always believed in the importance of public service and in the duty of individuals to be willing to serve our country.

I really do hope that the way that this inquiry has been played out, over these last 16 months, will not deter people from feeling that politics and the political debate is an area where people can play their full part.

I am sincerely delighted and relieved to put this all behind me and once again my heartfelt thanks to my wife, children, family and friends for their fantastic love and support.

RUTH TURNER

Today's announcement comes as an enormous relief. Although I was confident I had done nothing wrong, it has been a very stressful time for me and my family. I know that, however difficult for me personally, the police had an obligation to investigate these allegations thoroughly, and I co-operated with them fully. I am now looking forward to getting on with my life.

During this time I have tried to keep doing a job that I was very proud to do to the best of my abilities, and to keep private my feelings about how it has felt to go through this ordeal. Even on the most difficult days, I have been conscious that it was a real honour to work in No 10, serving the prime minister and the country.

I would not have been able to do this without the steadfast love and support of my family and friends, the professionalism and generosity of spirit of my colleagues, and the kindness of strangers. It is to all those who have kept me going during this time that I give my most sincere thanks.

DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER JOHN YATES

The Metropolitan Police began this investigation on 21 March 2006.

It followed the receipt of allegations that honours were being sought or offered for gain in contravention of the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 and also potential breaches of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

The allegations were cross-party and came from several members of the public including the MP, Angus MacNeil.

There was also a detailed newspaper report, in the form of an undercover operation by The Sunday Times newspaper, in connection with the funding of school academies and various comments from others who had suggested publicly in early March 2006 that the Labour Party had deliberately concealed a number of loans made to it at the time of the 2005 General Election.

With any investigation you go where the evidence takes you and during the course of the investigation it became necessary to consider whether there had been a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

This investigation would have been concluded much earlier if this latter aspect had not arisen.

I was clearly aware that the investigation into these matters would have serious consequences.

The decision to investigate was not one that was entered into lightly.

The police role in these matters is to gather the evidence, analyse it and present a case to the CPS in order to prove or disprove the allegations.

It is a search for the truth.

It is for the CPS and those that advise them to decide on the weight, admissibility and probative value of the evidence gathered and to make the decision as to whether there is a case to answer or whether it is in the public interest to proceed to court.

Accountability for operational decision-making in this case has rested, and remains, with me.

However, from the beginning, the investigative team and I have liaised closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, Queen's Counsel and the Electoral Commission, seeking their advice and views throughout.

There can be little doubt that it has been a challenging case. The proportionality and necessity of any action were matters uppermost in my mind throughout.

Some have been surprised about the intensity and length of the police investigation and I recognise that this has been an uncomfortable time for many of those who came under the investigative spotlight.

However, with allegations such as these, which were of utmost seriousness, the investigation had to be thorough and meticulous in every respect.

It was absolutely proper therefore that, when appropriate, police used the full range of powers at their disposal to gather the available evidence or potential evidence.

Our job is to follow the evidence and obtain the best possible evidence.

Some aspects of criminal enquiries can be undertaken on a voluntary basis but not all.

On occasions, this will take us, the police, into areas where they may rather not be but where we have to go in the interests of preserving potential evidence and, of course, thoroughness.

The CPS has now announced its decision not to charge anyone in connection with the matters under investigation. That decision rests solely with them.

I do, however, welcome their comments confirming the diligence, professionalism and thoroughness of the inquiry.

You will also have noted their comments about the complexities of the matter under investigation.

Lastly, the Metropolitan Police Authority has a clear remit to ask me to account for both the cost and the outcome of what has been a high profile and resource intensive investigation.

In due course I will be providing them with a report on these matters and about any other issues they consider relevant.

METROPOLITAN POLICE COMMISSIONER SIR IAN BLAIR

From the start of the investigation I made public that I would not be involved in operational decisions as I felt this would be inappropriate given the regular meetings I have with cabinet members and the former prime minister on official business.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Ken MacDonald and the new Attorney General Baroness Scotland also took similar decisions.

However, I have been kept informed of the investigation's progress and have always been satisfied by the leadership and conduct of the investigation.

The inquiry has been a meticulous and proportionate response to the serious allegations that were made and due process has now been completed with today's CPS announcement.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates and every member of his team have carried out this complex and sensitive investigation with the utmost professionalism.

They all continue to have my full support and confidence.






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