2 February 2019
Letter to The Times by Lord Thomas of Gresford, QC. This was in respect to Mrs May's suggestion that she could give money to specific Labour Leave areas in return for their MP's votes on the EU Withdrawal agreement.
Sir, The offer of cash subsidies to an MP for the benefit of his or her constituents provided the MP votes for the government’s withdrawal agreement is a breach of section 1 of the Bribery Act 2010 (“May woos Labour MPs with cash to back Brexit”, Jan 31, and letters, Feb 1). The MP party to such an agreement is in breach of Section 2. A minister who gives a financial or political advantage to an MP intending to bring about the improper performance of his or her duty to vote in good faith, impartially or in accordance with a position of trust, breaches Section 1. Receiving the advantage intending to act improperly breaches Section 2.
In deciding whether the casting of a vote has been performed improperly, the test of what is expected is a test of what a reasonable person in the UK would expect in relation to the performance of that public duty. If the government discriminated in favour of one deprived area against another on the basis of the vote cast by its MP, no reasonable jury would conclude in its favour. Pork-barrelling is a euphemism for corruption. It may be ingrained in the US, but the Bribery Act kills it in the UK. Another brief for the attorney general.
Lord Thomas of Gresford, QC
House of Lords
19 March 2018
Additional Opinion from Jeremy Carver CBE via email:
From: Jeremy Carver
Sent: 19 March 2018 10:57
Subject: Re: The DUP Bribe
I would add a point which should inform the parliamentary debate. I do so as the prime mover for new anti-bribery legislation in Transparency International UK from 1998 (shortly after the UK signed the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention of 9 December 1997) to the entry into force of the 2010 Bribery Act in July 2011. I believe I can claim to have followed closely or been involved in every formulation of the Bill and its precursors throughout those 13 years. I was also David Trimble’s legal adviser for the purpose of the Belfast Agreement in 1998.
A key element of the criminal offence of making or offering/receiving or promising to receive a benefit is not that there must be an underlying criminal act, but merely an improper act or inducement to do something improper. The impropriety that continues to take place, induced and encouraged by Mrs May’s bribe (as Conservative leader) to funnel £1 billion of UK tax money into Northern Ireland, is that DUP will continue to refuse to re-establish the power-sharing required by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 (20th anniversary imminent). The funding offer plays straight into the DUP’s hands because, with a pliable government in Westminster dependant on continuing DUP support, the DUP will control how the money is spent in Northern Ireland. This will inevitably inflame sectarian divisions, which the UK government will be helpless to stop. The impropriety of conduct in offering, and now, seemingly with parliament’s explicit assent, making the bribe, not only perpetuates the thoroughly unsatisfactory stalemate in Northern Ireland, but is a blatant breach of the United Kingdom’s mutual commitment in the Belfast Agreement. In the binding Treaty between the Irish Republic and UK, from which the other agreements flow, the two governments undertook that:
"the power of the sovereign government with jurisdiction there shall be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions and shall be founded on the principles of full respect for, and equality of, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens, and of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities (emphasis added)."
So long as the devolved assembly remains disbanded, the UK government is the sovereign authority in Northern Ireland; and the offer of £1 billion to the DUP to support the Conservative government is breach of the treaty commitment to exercise ‘rigorous impartiality’. For parliament now to give the government power to implement that offer places parliament in little short of a constitutional crisis. There are plainly those in the Conservative party who pay little respect for the United Kingdom’s international responsibilities; but the point needs to be hammered home in this debate that the sovereignty of parliament will not long survive its endorsement of a blatant breach of international law.
Incidentally, I find particularly shocking that the Bill to be debated on Tuesday is preceded by a bald (and false) statement by Mel Stride MP (UK Paymaster), required under the 1998 Human Rights Act, that the provisions of Bill are “compatible” with European Convention on Human Rights. The driving force for the Belfast Agreement was respect for the human rights of all communities in Northern Ireland. It would be interesting to see the point referred to Strasbourg for a ruling on compatibility with the ECHR.
The right answer is that the Bill should be withdrawn, the offer revoked, and the Government make a solemn commitment to the House that no Treasury moneys will be disbursed for Northern Ireland purposes other than on a strictly non-sectarian basis so long as power-sharing remains in abeyance.
I note with dismay that Labour List merely notes the debate on Tuesday, with no evident awareness of the underlying issues raised. If anyone can wake them up to these, it could help.
If the Lib Dems, or anyone else in parliament needs more information on this, please let me know.
20 November 2017
We emailed you all with the following:
Our liaison officer at the Metropolitan Police Service has today informed us that the allegation of bribery by Theresa May's government is "currently under assessment by the Special Enquiry Team".
We believe Assessment is the next step before Investigation.
23 October 2017
We emailed you all with the following:
At a meeting with Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Mr Hamid Sabi , we came to the conclusion that we should now make the letter of 18th September to Cressida Dick public , as well as the response of Ms Dick's Office, so these communications are attached. We now await a substantive response from the Metropolitan Police. Should the Police decide not to investigate the DUP "deal" as a possible breach of the 2010 Bribery Act , one way forward would be to apply for a Judicial Review of their decision, and Sir Geoffrey suggested that signatories should be alerted to the fact that in that event we would need to raise funds for that course of action, most probably by way of crowd funding.
Letter to Commissioner Dick Reply from Scotland Yard