Friday 30 November 2007

Wendy is obliged to reveal all of her donors.

Wendy Alexander has refused to reveal the names of the people who financially backed her bid for Laboured leadership.

I can exclusively reveal that she's going to have to name them all - and how much they gave her.

Ready for this?

She structured her bid so that donations went to a body set up in her name rather than straight to her. She assumed that this meant that she did not have to declare it in her Register of Interests in Parliament.

She's wrong.

The Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act 2006, requires that all MSPs publish details of their interests in the Register. Those interests include, at paragraph 6(1) of the schedule,
6 (1) Where a member or a company in which the member has a controlling interest or a partnership of which the member is a partner, receives, or has received, a gift of heritable or moveable property or a gift of a benefit in kind and—
(a) the value of the gift, at the date on which it was received, exceeds 1 per cent of a member’s salary on that date (rounded down to the nearest £10); and
(b) that gift meets the prejudice test.

So anything over £530 has to be listed in the Register of Interests. Her defence will be that it was not her nor a company in which she has a controlling interest that received the gift. Personally, I would say that she was a partner in the body that existed solely to get her elected as Labour leader.

Let's turn to the Code of Conduct for MSPs where it says:

3.1.8 Members should act honestly.

3.1.10 Members should be as open as possible about their decisions and actions.

2.6.6 In submitting a written statement in relation to the gift, the Member must provide details of the nature and monetary value of any gift and the date it was made. A Member must also indicate whether the gift was received directly or was given to a company or partnership in which the Member has a controlling interest. Members must additionally provide the donor’s name, principal business address (if not a private individual) and the nature of the donor’s business (if not a private individual).

There you have it - you have to act honestly and openly. Wendy Alexander must submit a statement with the nature and value of the gifts and who they were from - to do otherwise would be breaking the law. Jings, you even used to have to declare gifts you got from your spouse.

Publish the list now, Wendy. Stop trying to dodge your responsibility, live up to the standards expected of MSPs.

Remember your own words in your leadership manifesto:

The voters will give short shrift to parties and politicians who put their own
agenda first.

And remember your mission:
My mission and Scottish Labour’s in coming weeks and months is to win back the trust of the Scottish people.

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