The Guardian reports:
A Westminster inquiry into the row over Lord Ashcroft's peerage was thrown into turmoil when the Tory MPs on the committee walked out and said they were boycotting it permanently.
In what is understood to be an unprecedented move, Conservative members have withdrawn from the public administration select committee, some following discussions with the party whips.
The committee, regarded as one of the most influential in parliament, announced an inquiry into Ashcroft's ennoblement in the aftermath of the peer's revelation last week that he has non-dom status.
Sources close to the committee have confirmed the three Tory members have walked out, claiming the inquiry is pursuing a Labour vendetta. Some are under pressure from their leadership via the party whips, one senior source claimed.
It also emerged that Lord Ashcroft failed to meet a 9.30am deadline today to respond to an invitation to give evidence to the committee next Thursday. Gordon Prentice, a Labour committee member who has campaigned vociferously against the peer, made the announcement on his website. The committee has no powers to order members of the Lords to give evidence.
But then so is the situation.
No wonder the Tories are slipping in the polls.
Day by day they reveal themselves to be the same old nasty party.