Guido seems to better informed about Hain’s budget than he now claims to be. Back in May Guido ran this story detailing his expenditure, yet he claims to have been unaware of the figures until yesterday. Guido even helpfully uploaded the campaign’s expenditure summary for co-conspirators to download here. So how come Guido knew in May and he didn’t until yesterday. Why the under-reporting? Is it because of dodgy embarrassing donors like Mendelsohn?
How come Guido knew from his own campaign’s documents these figures and he didn’t? Even the most charitable interpretation is that he is recklessly incompetent. Is he really fit to be in charge of the billions allocated by the Department for Work and Pensions. Is he really the best person to be in charge of your pension?
It is that very same law that has come back to bite Scottish Labour’s Wendy Alexander. Sean Connery will be laughing his tartan socks off.
As broken by Guido here earlier. The obvious questions are
- Why didn’t he ‘fess up last week during his last admitted bout of amnesia?
- Why wait until Guido chases his fundraiser?
Hain released a self-serving statement this evening, just in time for the 6pm news shows, saying he went to see the Electoral Commission “this afternoon”. Guido would like to know if this was arranged in advance or was it impromptu? Funny coincidence of timing.
GF I was calling about your undeclared donations to Peter Hain’s campaign
HR Who are you? What are you talking about?
HR There is a small problem with my donation. It is not my fault. He has to declare the donations, not me.
The conversation got a bit confused and fraught at this point, Huw would only concede that he had made a donation, yet despite having held fundraising dinners for Peter Hain, he would not confirm any other donations were undeclared. No donation of any kind is recorded from Huw Roberts…
UPDATE : Have just got off the phone with Joe Carberry, Hain’s SpAd, “what you have written on the blog is not true”. So is Huw Roberts lying? “I am going to put the phone down” said Carberry. Guido gets through a lot of Hain SpAds per annum, so it is understandable.
Today Dave tells us he won’t be able to spend money on glossy ads and billboards unless he gets his hand on the taxpayer’s earnings.
Come off it Dave, try raising some money from your own supporters, don’t tax an unwilling public to pay for your party’s unwanted propaganda. It is bad for democracy to have state funding, it actually increases the distance between political parties and voters, it is not in any way necessary to have well funded parties to have a functioning democracy. Having to raise money from your supporters means you have to listen to them, getting the dole from the public purse makes politicians even less accountable than they are already.
Politicians don’t enjoy raising money from their supporters, but that is no reason to make ordinary workers forgo their justly earned income just to save them the trouble of working hard.
Police investigators from Operation Minerva might need to pack some sun lotion, Guido has been told the couple have have taken a month long holiday in Egypt. The detectives will want to know from where the Loot-Was-Coming…
Guido has been trying to get hold of Roy Kennedy, who was the Director of Finance and Compliance when the illegal funding operation was under way, to ask him when he knew about it, with no luck. Presumably the investigating officers from Scotland Yard’s Operation Minerva will have more luck.
Labour is trying to spread the blame, with “we’re all at it” spin lines. They keep referring to Lord Ashcroft, who makes all his donations to the Tories above board and has actually given less money than Labour’s Lord Sainsbury.
They also keep referring to “a breach of the rules”, no these are criminal acts, a breach of the law is not the same as cheating at Scrabble. They are now hiding behind the “we’re not going to give a running commentary on a police investigation” line (© T. Blair).
Another line they are using is that they have “given the money back”. They haven’t as yet. It is in any event likely to be confiscated by the Electoral Commission.
There is no real need for new laws or reviews, there is a need for politicians to simply not break the existing laws. If Labour figures had not circumvented the existing laws they would not be in trouble. The idea that this situation is just the result of one publicity shy donor is nonsense, it has nothing to do with Wendy Alexander’s problems or Harman’s second problem.
Harman’s re-mortgage of £40,000 is an illegally undeclared loan – made against her home’s presumably joint mortgage – to her leadership campaign. Technically the loan is in equal part her husband’s loan. Her husband is Jack Dromey, the Labour party Treasurer, so he has permitted an undeclared loan to be made to the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, a loan from him. That is prima facie an illegal loan by two of the very highest ranking officials. She broke not only the spirit but letter of the law – in two instances – the loan and the proxy donation. Harman, the former Solicitor General, should face charges as a consequence.
This anecdote from Simon Heffer is worth recounting in full:-
It was a Labour Party conference in Brighton a few years ago. It was pouring with rain. I was leaving a restaurant and asked for my coat and umbrella.
The latter was a shockingly expensive, black wooden-handled model, bought deliberately so I would remember not to lose it. Instead, I was given the sort of floral collapsible one sold by Italian street vendors for a quid. I then saw a woman leaving the same restaurant with my umbrella. She protested it was hers. I protested it wasn’t.
I pointed out that a brass collar on the shaft bore my initials. At that moment, a waiter said, “Madam, here is your umbrella”, and handed her the Italian floral job. Flustered, Harriet Harman (for it was she) said that she thought she had borrowed the gamp from her sister who, being called Sarah Jane Harman, had the same initials as me.
Looking at the two brollies, I said I could see how easily she might have confused the two. She failed to appreciate the joke. Am I surprised that she is up to her neck in effluent about dodgy donations? Am I hell.
The mendacious Mendelsohn is in a hole, there is no way out for him now. On LabourHome activists are calling for him to go. He was Gordon’s choice to raise funds for Labour…
It has been nice to see Vince Cable openly attacking the leader of another party, as opposed to attacking his own for the last few year(s).[…]