Sunday, 6 December 2009

No intentional wrong-doing?

Once upon a time Wendy Alexander said there was no intentional wrong-doing over donations to her campaign to lead Labour in Scotland. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce, as a chap with a beard once said. Iain Gray must be hoping he was wrong as the dealings of Prestonpans Labour Club start to come to light. That club made a donation to his leadership campaign and offered him the space to launch his bid.


Anonymous said...

Quite beyond belief

A local Labour club’s annual fund-raising being part-funded by the council tax payer for the past 14 years is a systematic fraud by local elected representatives and quite possibly local government officials.

It would be interesting for all council's to conduct a review of their funding for charity groups who so openly support political parties.......

It was after all the wider row over the funding of Wendy Alexander's leadership campaign that eventually led to her downfall as she faced a Holyrood inquiry related to dubious donations.

In Gray's case, his donations do tell a story.

On 29 July 2008 an early donation of £520 was made by Richard Baker MSP, a publicly funded list MSP for North East Scotland who also owns a £200,000 flat in Edinburgh and makes £10,000 per annum in rent from it, according to his registered interests.

On 1 August 2008, Ian Gray received a £800 donation by Prestonpans Labour Party.

That same day he received a donation of £500 from Lord Foulkes of Cumnock. Foulkes is also an MSP who holds 100% of the issued share capital of Carrick Court Associates Ltd a consultancy business that earns around £50,000 annually facilitating access to parliament for private business interests.

On top of this Foulkes earns a further £10,000 per annum as the Chairman of Editorial Board of Govnet (a client of his company Carrick Court Associates and a largely tax payer supported media outlet)

That's not to mention his publicly funded MSP salary and the £50,000 he claims for overnight and day subsistence and for travel to and from London to carry out his role as Lord Foulkes of Cumnock.

On 20 August 2008 Gray received a further donation of £1,500 from the partly publicly funded Prestonpans Labour Party Social Club.

On the same day Gray also recevied £1,000 from another Lord, Baron Moonie of Bennochy in Fife

Lewis Moonie was created a life peer before the 2005 general election, he previously been MP for Kirkcaldy, now partly within Gordon Brown MP's constituency.

In late-January 2009 however the Sunday Times mounted a classic 'sting operation', along with 3 other Labour peers, Lord Moonie pronounced to two journalists posing as lobbyists that he was 'ready, willing and able' to procure changes in legislation that would be helpful to their fictitious corporation in return for annual 'consultancy fees' of £30,000.

The plot thickens.

Might it worth considering whether those who receive their incomes from the public purse be barred from donating towards political causes?

Is that a step to far?

Where do we as tax payers draw the line?

Calum Cashley said...

I've had a couple of comments that I'd like to hold back on because it might be more useful to use the information in a different way, in particular from Sean McLeod. Hope you dont mind.


Anonymous said...

Calum, sounds intriguing--I can hardly wait for you to dish these bounders!