BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Harman joins critics of Desmond donation
Richard Desmond
Desmond's donation angered some Labour members
Labour's decision to take money from an adult magazine publisher could undermine women's confidence in the government, a minister has suggested.

Solicitor-General Harriet Harman became the latest minister to criticise the party's decision to accept 100,000 from Richard Desmond, who owns Express Newspapers.


It would be a pity if this issue undermined women's confidence in all the government has achieved for women

Harriet Harman
Tony Blair has defended the decision despite attacks on Mr Desmond's ownership of soft pornography magazines like Asian Babes and Horny Housewives.

But it has already come under fire from two cabinet ministers - Clare Short and Tessa Jowell, as well as other Labour MPs.

Undermining women's success

Ms Harman told Wednesday's Daily Telegraph: "I wouldn't take money from Richard Desmond for my own office, so I don't think the Labour Party should.

"It would be a pity if this issue undermined women's confidence in all the government has achieved for women in childcare, family-friendly employment and tackling domestic violence."

That stance echoed the comments made by Culture Secretary Ms Jowell, who said: "You either talk equality or you act equality."

International Development Secretary Ms Short said she hated porn and thought the furore over the donation had prompted Labour to set up a new committee to vet donations.

Labour chairman Charles Clarke has denied that the establishment of its new committee was prompted by the affair.

The move was designed to cut out the "innuendo" which has surrounded recent donations but denies any past wrongdoing, says the party.

More Desmond money?

"The most important moral standard is that people should not expect that in giving money to the Labour Party they are getting some favour in return," said Mr Clarke.

As Mr Clarke turned his fire against the media on Wednesday, he was asked whether Labour would again accept a donation from Mr Desmond.

"It would depend on the circumstances, I could not say yes or no to that question," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

In an article for the Times newspaper, he said that in every case where an impropriety over donations had been alleged "it has never been demonstrated, for the simple reason that it does not exist".

Blair's defence

In a Newsnight interview last month Mr Blair said he was not familiar with the content of the magazines owned by Mr Desmond's Northern and Shell company.

But if someone was fit to own one of Britain's biggest newspaper groups, there was no reason why Labour should not take their money, he said.

The prime minister said he would love not to have raise any more money for his party.

But he did not think there was the political consensus or public support for state funding for parties.


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Should Labour return Desmond's donation?Dirty money?
Should Labour return Desmond's money?
See also:

31 May 02 | UK Politics
12 Jun 02 | UK Politics
22 May 02 | UK Politics
25 May 02 | UK Politics
24 May 02 | UK Politics
17 May 02 | UK Politics
15 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Internet links:


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


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes