Hewitt In Cash For Honours Quiz

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has been questioned by police investigating “cash for honours” allegations. Ms Hewitt, the first serving cabinet minister to be quizzed, talked to detectives as a witness, not under oath as a suspect, the Financial Times said.

A spokeswoman for Ms Hewitt confirmed that she had had “brief” meeting with detectives.

It took place at an unspecified location in London but not at the Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall, the spokeswoman said.

There was “no reason to expect” that she would have any further contact with the police over the matter, she added.

Ms Hewitt revealed earlier this month that she had been asked for such a meeting and pledged to “fully co-operate” with the Scotland Yard probe.

She is believed to have faced questioning over donations made to her constituency party in Leicester West by curry tycoon Sir Gulam Noon.

Sir Gulam was one of the wealthy supporters who loaned Labour a total of £14 million ahead of last year’s General Election. His nomination for a peerage was later blocked by the House of Lords Appointments Commission, sparking the current inquiry.

The detective leading the inquiry, Acting Assistant Commissioner John Yates, revealed last week that 90 people had been interviewed so far.

Prime Minister Tony Blair is widely expected to be questioned by the inquiry team in the near future.