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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 17:31 GMT
Dromey facing treasurer challenge
Mark McDonald
Mr McDonald says he has the necessary experience
The row over donations to the Labour Party has prompted a candidate to challenge Jack Dromey for the post of party treasurer.

Human rights barrister Mark McDonald, 42, says he wants to bring trust back into politics by making party funding more "transparent" and less elitist.

Mr McDonald, who is backed by the blog LabourHome, says he will use the internet to galvanise support.

Nominations close in April. Mr Dromey is expected to seek re-election.

The election will be decided by delegates at the Labour Party conference in September.

'Passion'

It is the first time in a number of years that the post of treasurer has been challenged.

Mr McDonald, who stood as Labour's candidate in Wantage at the 2005 general election, says he was inspired to stand by concerns expressed on the LabourHome site about the way the party is funded.

There is a massive perception out there of corruption - I think we need to change that
Mark McDonald

He also believes his background in financial management as a lawyer covering cases involving international and domestic fraud will be crucial to the role.

"I believe I have the experience, the background and the passion to do this," he said.

As treasurer he would ensure the party had better trained agents to run its elections, he said.

"I think we should not only train them, but test them to make sure they are of such a high standard they can do the job," he said.

"I do not believe there is anyone in the leadership of the Labour Party who is corrupt, but there is a massive perception out there of corruption.

"I think we need to change that."

David Abrahams

While he would not like to see a cap on donations to political parties, he says what is needed is a "transparent chain of where the money comes from" along with proper safeguards.

"We shouldn't be afraid to talk about money. We should be proud that people want to donate to the Labour or Conservative parties because that means people believe in what we stand for," he said.

The challenge for the post comes after businessman David Abrahams hit the headlines over his donation of 663,975 to Labour via associates.

Mr Abrahams said he did not know there was anything wrong in giving money under other people's names, explaining that he had done so only to protect his own privacy.

Mr Dromey has said the practice of accepting donations by proxy from Mr Abrahams was "absolutely wrong", and all involved deny wrongdoing.

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