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Blair likely to resign if 'cash-for-honours' charges brought against top aides: report

[JURIST] UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile; JURIST news archive] will most likely resign if charges are brought against his closest aides in a growing "cash-for-honours" investigation [BBC News Q&A], senior ministers have told The Guardian newspaper. The arrest of Director of Government Relations Ruth Turner [BBC News report] on Friday on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in a probe into whether British peerages were awarded by the governing Labour Party in exchange for donations or loans marks the fourth arrest in a scandal that already includes some of Blair's top associates, including personal friend and fund raiser Lord Levy [JURIST report]. Blair has publicly offered his support [press release] to Turner, who has denied any wrongdoing, "Ruth Turner is a person of the highest integrity for whom I have great regard and I continue to have complete confidence in her."

The Metropolitan Police [official website] team investigating the allegations have so far spoken to about 90 people, including Blair. The investigation began after revelations that some people recommended for peerages had made secret loans to Blair's Labour Party [party website] and other major political parties [JURIST report]. Trading cash for honors may violate the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act [BBC backgrounder]. Blair is already expected to leave office shortly, effectively handing over 10 Downing St. to current Chancellor Gordon Brown. The Guardian has more.

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