The Metropolitan Police says it is “considering” calls for it to investigate Boris Johnson over the so-called ‘cash for honours’ scandal.
Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, wrote to the Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick asking for the force to investigate “potential criminal misconduct” in the Conservative Party.
This comes after an investigation found all 16 of the main Conservative treasurers – apart from the most recent – were offered peerages in the House of Lords after donating millions of pounds to the party.
It would wealthy benefactors were “guaranteed” a peerage if they take on the temporary role of party treasurer and increase their own personal donations to over £3 million.
Mr Wishart told the Met Police he believes this breaches the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 and therefore warrants a criminal investigation.
Met Police receives complaint letter
The Met Police says it is now considering Mr Wishart’s complaint, but adds it has not yet started an investigation into the claims he raised.
In his letter Mr Wishart directly asks the police to investigate Boris Johnson, as well as previous Conservative prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.
A spokesman for the Met said: “The Metropolitan Police Service has received correspondence relating to recent media reports concerning the awarding of peerages.
“At this time, we are considering the contents of the correspondence.”
Mr Wishart said: “There seems to be a recurring theme in the House of Lords of people who donate several million pounds to the Conservative Party magically finding themselves with an ermine over their shoulders, contributing to the legislative decisions of this country.
“It could be that these appointments were entirely innocent.
“However, last week’s attempt by the government to axe the standards committee showed us all that they are not afraid to engage in corrupt activities.
“This investigation is therefore needed in the interest of political transparency.”
SNP writes to opposition parties
Mr Wishart and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford have now written to the leader of all the opposition parties in Westminster calling on them to unite against the Conservatives in a bid to end the practice of handing peerages to party donors.
Mr Blackford said: “There is no doubt that the Tory cash for honours scandal is an appalling abuse of the system – the only question now is whether there is sufficient evidence of a breach of the law.
“By handing out peerages to do many of their party donors, the Tories have made the UK look like a banana republic.
“Parliament must now unite behind an investigation and all parties must commit to ending this corrupt practice, once and for all.”
I've written to the leaders of the opposition parties at Westminster to urge Parliament to unite against the Tory cash for honours scandal.
There must be a full investigation – and all parties must commit to ending the corrupt practice of handing peerages to wealthy party donors pic.twitter.com/vsdsjFSjVz
— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) November 9, 2021
Raab defends Lords appointments
However a number of Conservative MPs have defended the practice in recent media appearances.
Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News there was “absolutely no question” of the government being involved in a cash for honours scandal, and says opposition parties are making “political points” by asking the police to investigate.
He said: “In relation to becoming appointed to the House of Lords, there’s also very clear rules.
“I would say that, of course, people who are entrepreneurs but also engaged in public service, whether that’s charities, whether that’s supporting political parties, do a public service.
“And certainly we benefit when the Conservative Party has a treasurer, people who’ve got that kind of experience.”