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Tony Blair Justice Philip Sales

In what is a consolation victory for the Labour Party’s establishment in the Court of Appeal, it has been revealed by WikiLeaks that there may be more to the decision than meets the eye.

After Sir Philip Sales QC overruled the previous High Court decision to allow the 130,000 disenfranchised Labour Party members to vote in the up and coming leadership election – notorious whistle-blower Wikileaks revealed that Sales had been a Blair insider for years, having been recruited as Junior Counsel to the Crown in 1997.

The literature cited by WikiLeaks confirms that immediately after Labour’s victory in the 1997 general election, Sales was recruited by Tony Blair. Interestingly, it also reveals that Sales used to be a practising barrister at law chambers 11KBW, of which Tony Blair was a founder member. At the time of the appointment, there was uproar over Sales’ appointment and plunged Blair into a cronyism row.

According to The Guardian’s coverage of the sexual discrimination case brought against Sales’ appointment, a source close to the case referred to 11KBW as a ‘network of old boys and cronies’, and that there was ‘no coincidence that the appointment came from Lord Irvine’s and Tony Blair’s old chambers’.

Since his appointment in 1997, Sir Philip Sales managed to rack up a hefty bill to the taxpayer as the highest earning lawyer in the entire government. Moreover, as a key part of Blair’s legal team, he also defended the Government’s decision against holding a public inquiry into the Iraq War in the High Court in 2005.

Clearly, there is no evidence of wrongdoing, only that of a conflict of interest. Sales’ deep involvement in the Labour Party during the Blair years will raise questions about the legitimacy of his shock ruling in favour of the National Executive Committee, especially as there was an evident breach of contract.

Despite these 130,000 members being told in black and white that they were eligible to vote in upcoming leadership elections upon registration, today they have been officially cast aside by their own party in an attempt to skew a result that is already a foregone conclusion. The biggest kick in the teeth, however, is that the permission to do so was granted by a former key lawyer of Tony Blair’s Labour government.

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