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Labour’s hypocrisy over party funding

March 1, 2010

Labour’s incredibly hypocrisy over party funding knows no bounds. The national newspapers seem almost hysterical in their mud flinging recently, but no issue could show more clearly how facts and a balance can be distorted than the row today about a man called Lord Ashcroft.

“In Stalybridge and Hyde the Conservatives have never received any finance from Lord Ashcroft, all the money for our campaign comes from our local members, unlike Labour. Labour seats like Stalybidge and Hyde are helped hugely by large donations from unions gathered from levies of subs paid by hardworking people” explains Rob Adlard.  

Lord Ashcroft is a Conservative party donor who has given about 1% of the party’s funds in the last year, far less than donations to the Labour party by so-called ‘don-dom’ donors, and all donations have been legal and Lord Ashcroft has been paying tax on his UK earnings. There will be relief that Lord Ashcroft has now cleared this up and comparison can be made.

The Labour mudslingers are already out in force, so let’s compare and contrast what the Labour Party DOES re non doms, compared to its rhetoric.

Gordon Brown has previously claimed it is ‘a scandal’ that there is not greater transparency on the tax status of party backers. But latest figures show that since 2001, Labour have taken over £10 million from eight reportedly ‘non-dom’ donors:

• Lord Paul – £69,250 in donations to Labour, including £45,000 to Gordon Brown’s leadership campaign. A close friend of Gordon Brown and appointed to the Privy Council last summer, he has admitted to being ‘non-dom’.
• Lakshmi Mittal – £4.125 million in donations to Labour.
• Sir Ronald Cohen – £2.55 million in donations to Labour. Cohen was appointed chair of the Social Investment Taskforce, which was announced by the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown.
• Sir Christopher Ondaatje – £1.7 million in donations to Labour.
• Sir Gulam Noon – £532,826 in donations to Labour.
• William Bollinger – £510,725 in donations to Labour.
• Mahmoud Khayami – £985,000 in donations to Labour including £5,000 to Hazel Blears’ deputy leadership campaign. He has helped bankroll two flagship schools, one of which Gordon Brown opened, and was personally thanked for a donation by Tony Blair.
• Dr David Potter – £90,000 in a donation to Labour. He has previously delivered a lecture at Downing Street.

And compare this with the donations from Lord Ashcroft’s Bearwood company…

• Only one per cent donated by Bearwood this year. In the last calendar year, Bearwood’s donations contribution to the Conservative Party amounts to just one per cent of all donations – £329,859 donated out of £32,508,866 received by the Conservative Party (Electoral Commission register).

• Less than five per cent donated by Lord Ashcroft and Bearwood since Cameron became leader. Since David Cameron became leader, less than five per cent of cash and in-kind donations have come from Bearwood Corporate Services, a company in which Lord Ashcroft has an interest. Since Q1 2006, Bearwood has donated £4,131,995 in cash and in-kind out of a total £90,723,018 donated to the Conservative Party in the same period (Electoral Commission register).

• At most 10 per cent of marginal seat funds donated by Bearwood. Of the funds spent in marginal seats, the amount received from Bearwood is no more than 10 per cent at most (Electoral Commission register). The Independent put this at 18% in their Saturday edition, but those who have done the calculations disagree and out it at a maximum of 10%.

The point is that David Cameron has made clear that in future all donations will have to be made by domiciled UK taxpayers. Gordon Brown, so far as I am aware, has made no such commitment. Lord Ashcroft has said he will abide by the new rules. Will Lord Paul and Sir Ronnie Cohen and their friends?

“I’d rather than we focus on policies and the real issues in our country today” says Rob Adlard.

“Our country is in an absolute mess, dropping down the international ratings for education, on health and our economy has been ruined. One man is responsible, Gordon Brown. It’s Brown’s ideal campaign to focus on anything other than these facts, don’t let him take you for a fool, it’s our duty to hold Gordon Brown and James Purnell to account at the ballot box.”

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