Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 15:43 UK

Levy 'not bitter' towards Blair

Lord Levy said he did not want to 'bad mouth' Gordon Brown or Tony Blair

Tony Blair's former fund-raiser has said he is "not bitter" about his treatment by senior Labour colleagues over the cash-for-honours inquiry.

Lord Levy told BBC One's Andrew Marr he did not want to "bad mouth" Mr Blair or his successor as PM, Gordon Brown.

He also denied that loans and gifts to Labour had meant "access" to Mr Blair.

Lord Levy was arrested twice during the cash-for-honours inquiry into 14m of secret loans to Labour before the 2005 election. He was cleared of wrongdoing.

He told Andrew Marr it was "inconceivable" that Mr Brown, who oversaw Labour's election campaign, had not known about the arrangement.

'Knew nothing'

But an aide to the prime minister dismissed the claim as "complete, unsubstantiated garbage", saying that Lord Levy had produced no evidence to back up his allegations.

"Gordon Brown knew nothing whatsoever about these loans," they added.

After details of the loans were revealed in 2006, it emerged that some of those lending the money had been nominated for peerages. Labour and the businessmen involved denied any wrongdoing.

Gordon Brown
They were caught in their own trap. Tony knew that sacking Gordon would tear the party apart
John Prescott

Scotland Yard investigated complaints that Labour and other political parties had broken laws dating back to 1925 about selling honours. Several people were arrested, including Lord Levy, but no-one was charged.

During his interview Lord Levy was asked if he felt he had been "dumped on".

He replied: "I don't want to feel bitter. I really don't want to feel bitter. I want to carry on with my life and face many challenges."

Asked about his long relationship with Mr Blair as his friend and fund-raiser, he said: "I would like to look at the period when I was with him and say there were good times and some bad times.

'Trembling with shock'

"I don't want to bad mouth either Tony or Gordon. I wanted to express what I felt happened during that period in an honest and fair way and without there being any bitterness."

Lord Levy said he had been "literally trembling with shock" when he first heard he was going to be arrested in July 2006.

But he added that he had "never" thought he would go to prison.

Lord Levy said he had introduced potential Labour donors to Mr Blair during dinner parties at his own house but this did not mean "access" to him.

He added that he had "never, ever offered anybody anything", in terms of honours, and had "never" been involved in the process of deciding recipients.

Lord Levy repeated his call for a change in the way political parties are funded, saying that he had felt this was necessary even before the cash-for-honours investigation broke.

Last month, he said Mr Blair had told him he did not think Mr Brown could win the next general election. A Downing Street source has said it was always made "categorically clear" without "any equivocation" that Mr Brown had known nothing about the loans.




SEE ALSO
Brown shrugs off Levy's criticism
28 Apr 08 |  UK Politics
Levy's timing unpleasant for Brown
11 May 08 |  UK Politics
Profile: Lord Levy
12 Jul 06 |  UK Politics

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