BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Interviews 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 1 January, 2001, 12:50 GMT
Labour under fire over 2m gift
john redwood
John Redwood: Labour's behaviour disgraceful
The Labour party is coming under increasing pressure to name the benefactor who has reportedly made a 2m donation just weeks before anti-sleaze laws on party funding come into force.

Conservatives have accused the government of "rank hypocrisy" in breaching the "spirit" of the new laws.

But a Labour spokeswoman refused even to confirm that the money has been received.

The anti-sleaze laws received Royal Assent in December after an inquiry by Lord Neill's watchdog committee on standards in public life.


Are they ashamed of him or is he ashamed of them?

John Redwood

All political parties will have to give details of donors and their gifts to a new electoral commission, which will then publish them, under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act.

But the Home Office has said money paid in before February will not be examined.

John Redwood, head of the Conservative parliamentary campaigns unit, called Labour's behaviour "disgraceful".

"I find it absolutely extraordinary," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The fact that they won't defend the donation shows just how bad they obviously feel about what they are doing."

"Have they received this donation?

"If so, why can't they tell us where it comes from.


They have previously been forced to take Lord Neill's advice on accepting large donations - it would be interesting to know whether that advice was sought in relation to this donation

Andrew Lansley
Shadow cabinet office minister
"Are they ashamed of him or is he ashamed of them?

Labour's general election manifesto promised that the party would "clean up politics, decentralise political power throughout the UK and put the funding of political parties on a proper and accountable basis".

But the government faced criticism when it was revealed Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone had given Labour 1m in 1997 before the May election.

It was alleged the gift, one of the biggest single donations to a British political party, influenced the government's decision to seek an exemption for Formula One from a European tobacco advertising ban.

Labour followed Lord Neill's advice and returned the money.

Shadow cabinet office minister Andrew Lansley said: "They have previously been forced to take Lord Neill's advice on accepting large donations - it would be interesting to know whether that advice was sought in relation to this donation."


Labour has been at the forefront of the disclosure of political donations and we are proud of our record

Labour

A wealthy businessman is said to be behind the latest 2m gift.

But a Labour spokeswoman said on Sunday : "The party does not comment on any individual donors."

She added that everyone donating more than 5,000 will be named in the party's annual report - but it will not reveal the precise amount.

"Labour has been at the forefront of the disclosure of political donations and we are proud of our record," the spokeswoman concluded.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

27 Jul 99 | UK Politics
Political donations shake-up
21 Apr 98 | Party fundraising
Party fundraising background
15 Apr 98 | Politics
Party funding in the spotlight
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories