One of the most striking things about the end of the ‘cash for honours’ inquiry on Friday was the absence of a victory lap from those who had spent so long under pressure from the police probe. Both Lord Levy and Tony Blair were magnanimous in victory and careful not to criticise the police directly in their statements. This seemed like by far the best tactics for them, it wasn’t in their interests for the police to feel that they had to defend themselves. The new Prime Minister must also have welcomed their restraint; this is a story he wants to go away as soon as possible and anything that adds fuel to the fire is unwelcome from his perspective.
This dam has broken today, though, with a piece by Sarah Helm, Jonathan Powell’s wife, in The Observer lashing out at the Met’s “Gestapo tactics”. Her article does make you realise just how stressful it must have been for those forced to live through this inquiry and how angry many in Blair’s circle feel about the police’s tactics especially with regard to Ruth Turner. But if it sparks off a counter-set of stories from those close to the police investigation, it ultimately won’t be helpful to Labour or Blair’s legacy.