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Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 13:42 GMT
Ministers 'to see donor list'
Labour Party chairman Charles Clarke
Clarke says there was no wrongdoing
Labour is reportedly planning to warn civil servants and ministers about potentially controversial party donations.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Labour Party chairman Charles Clarke said a list of donors was being distributed to all government departments in an effort to increase transparency.

Mr Clarke said officials and ministers had to be "absolutely clear" about the background of businessmen who funded the party.

The move follows criticism of Tony Blair for signing a letter to the Romanian prime minister backing a bid for a steel company by Indian tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.

It emerged that Mr Mittal had donated 125,000 to the Labour Party.


This is all public information anyway but it's a question of making sure it gets to people

Charles Clarke
Labour Party chairman

The Labour Party chairman told the paper: "Even if a minister is not aware of the donation nobody is going to believe that, so why not have the whole thing much more transparent?

"This is all public information anyway but it's a question of making sure it gets to people so that everybody is absolutely clear about what the situation is."

Deterrent

Mr Clarke added: "This is all public information anyway but it's a question of making sure it gets to people so that everybody is absolutely clear about what the situation is."

He also voiced concerns that the series of controversies surrounding party contributions may deter wealthy business people from making donations.

Earlier he said government reforms to make party donations clearer had contributed to the current furore.

Mr Clarke told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: "The Labour Party, the government, has created a stick for its own back because we decided it was very important to be transparent about all donations.

"So we have insisted - in the teeth of opposition from the Conservatives - that all donations should be in the public arena and that is what they are."

See also:

22 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Ministers defend Mittal deal
22 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Mittal 'stopped LSE donations'
19 Feb 02 | UK
Who's funding who?
19 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Steel boss blasts 'naive' Blair
18 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Blair silent on Mittal's US links
25 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Mittal 'outraged' by Steelgate row
23 Feb 02 | Scotland
Activist defends Labour donations
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