Hewitt becomes first Cabinet member questioned over cash for honours

PATRICIA Hewitt yesterday became the first serving Cabinet minister to be questioned by police investigating "cash-for-honours" allegations.

It is understood the Health Secretary talked to detectives as a witness, not under oath as a suspect. "I met with the police following their request," she said in a statement last night.

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 inquiry.

She is believed to have faced questioning over donations made to her constituency party in Leicester West by the 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.

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, is widely expected to be questioned by the inquiry team soon.

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