Monday, 26 November 2007

An odd Labour funding story (continued again)

Events are moving apace, the BBC are now reporting that:

"Labour general secretary Peter Watt has resigned following the revelation that a property developer made donations to the party via two colleagues.
David Abrahams gave more than £400,000 through associates, claiming he wanted to avoid publicity.

Mr Watt told a meeting of officers of Labour's National Executive Committee that he had known about the arrangement but not that it might be illegal.

He added that he had always "prided myself on having complete integrity"."

Further to my earlier post today, I really want to make sure what Mr Abrahams said on the Today programme this morning before I comment on this part of the story...

UPDATE: I think I may have misheard, so no great expose I am afraid.

The BBC report also tells us that "Mr Watt said that, as general secretary, he was legally responsible for the reporting obligations for the party. He added: "I was aware of arrangements whereby David Abrahams gave gifts to business associates and a solicitor who were permissible donors and who in turn passed them on to the Labour Party and I believed at the time my reporting obligations had been appropriately complied with. "As a result of press coverage over the weekend, I sought legal advice on behalf of the Labour Party. I was advised that, unbeknown to me, there were additional reporting requirements. "Once I discovered this error, I immediately notified the officers of the National Executive Committee. "I take full responsibility for the Labour Party's reporting obligations. Consistent with my own and the party's commitment to the highest standards in public life, it is with great sadness I have decided to resign my position as general secretary with immediate effect.""

Mr Abrahms' conduit, Mr Ruddick, apparently said "I can't stand Labour. I can't stand any politicians."
Sounds like a sensible chap.

Unless it is proved otherwise to me I will have to assume that New Labour have been caught out trying another way to circumvent the legislation obliging political parties to declare the source of all donations above a certain figure. First it was loans in place of donations and now having a friend or business acquaintance donate the money on the donor's behalf. Whiter than white?

No comments: