Tonight’s Dispatches makes very awkward viewing for Labour’s Chris Leslie, who is secretly filmed offering influence over manifesto policy to an undercover businessman posing as a party donor. Leslie is told by a Labour fundraising chief that Paul Wilmott is a “prospective donor”, then takes him for tea at the Marriott Hotel in Westminster where they discuss the Financial Transaction Tax. During the cosy discussion Leslie offers the fake donor access to Chuka Umunna. Afterwards, Wilmott emails Leslie some more detailed policy proposals, to which the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury responds:
From: LESLIE, Chris
To: WILMOTT, Paul
Many thanks for this Paul… I think you make some good points about the best way to introduce an FTT… I’ll have a good think about some of these good points ahead of our manifesto but I appreciate any updates you might have along the way.
The footage is described by Sir Alistair Graham, the former Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, as “exceptional”:
“You see a specific reference to the manifesto. So here he is at the point of the development of the policies of the Labour Party where he might actually influence a manifesto pledge. Now that is an exceptional situation to be in.”
Chris Leslie’s price? £10,000…