What is it with Labour and cash donations to party funds? Traditionally the murky reserve of the Conservatives, Brown and Co appear to have the monopoly when it comes to dodgy funding. Less than a year after the “cash for honours” scandal, they are once again embroiled in a series of suspicious payments.
As highlighted yesterday, the issue centres on payments made by Ray Ruddick and Janet Kidd, both employees of one property magnet David Abrahams. Ruddick and Kidd were gifted the money by the latter, who then gifted it to the Labour Party, one particular payment being made six months after the Prime Minister took over, so the controversy falls well within his tenure.
To issues prevail here. Firstly, whether the gifted payments are within the law. The Electoral Commission has demanded an explanation, with donations via third parties being illegal unless the person behind the donation is also declared. The second issue concerns the suitability of Mr Abrahams himself. Poor old David is quite partial to a bit of controversy. He attempted to stand as parliamentary candidate for Labour in Richmond (Hague’s seat) presenting himself as a married man. He was in fact single, which was a bit of an oversight. This omission, together with concerns over his business interests, led to his deselection.
So there you have it, less than legal payments from an equally suspicious source. With a new Brown-ite era of open government dawning, what will his reaction be to issue?