Debbonaire Criticises Sky/Tortoise ‘Westminster Files’ as “Misleading”

Shadow Commons Leader Thangam Debbonaire used an appearance on Newsnight last night to criticise some of the reporting by Sky and Tortoise on donations to MPs. After an interview about Nadhim Zahawi’s taxes, Kirsty Wark widened the discussion to questions about MPs’ finances as a whole. Citing the ‘Westminster Files’ data investigation by Sky and Tortoise, she described it as an attempt to shine a light on what MPs get from whom. Thangam cut in:

 “That’s not strictly accurate, what they did was they showed donations as well as income. And frequently what I saw on Sky was a collapsing of the two things together. So there was some reporting which was misleading and said ‘so and so received such and such money’ when actually it had gone to their campaign, or to their constituency party.”

Thangam’s right about this – as Tom Harwood wrote recently. Investigating money in politics is an ancient pursuit for journalists, however implying that Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer or Rebecca Long-Bailey had money put into their personal bank accounts by donors to their respective leadership campaigns is obvious nonsense. Some MPs saw the Sky News website sloppily imply they’d personally pocketed money given by groups to fund policy experts in their offices, or pay for leaflets for their local constituency association. The Sky/Tortoise website stripped the context out to imply something darker happening in British politics. It muddied the water, it didn’t make things clearer…

mdi-timer 19 January 2023 @ 14:35 19 Jan 2023 @ 14:35 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour Trails Tories in Donations Despite Starmer’s Donor Wooing

The Electoral Commission has released the latest party donations for last quarter (July to September), showing the Tories are holding a financing lead over the other parties despite Keir Starmer’s attempts to lure in the big donors and selling off opportunities to meet senior shadow ministers. Those raking in six figures in private donations were…

Tories – £3,392,692

Labour – £1,054,194

Co-operative Party – £397,425

LibDems – £366,481

Reports from this quarter also include furlough payments from the Treasury – included in the public funds category, jumbled together with Short Money that opposition parties regularly receive. The biggest loads of taxpayer cash going to parties were:

Labour – £1,820,483

LibDems – £536,322

Tories – £436,032

SNP – £184,331

mdi-timer 3 December 2020 @ 11:10 3 Dec 2020 @ 11:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
At Least 6 Leave Donors Received Identical Death Threats This Week

At least six prominent donors to the Leave campaign have received identical death threats in the past week as part of a concerted campaign of intimidation from a group calling itself “The Real 48 Per Cent”, Guido can reveal. The chilling letters, which were typed but sent in handwritten envelopes, told the recipients: “You have stoked the fires of Brexit and led us to this moment. You can no longer be tolerated. We are coming for you. We are going to kill you”. Guido is aware of six Leave donors who have received the same letter. At least three have complained to the police. It is suspected that the sender of the letters identified the donors using this article listing the names of those who gave money to the Leave campaign. It is likely more letters were sent to other donors. The sender identified themselves as an opponent of Brexit, writing: “We were born in Britain. We live in the UK. We are European”. If you are a Leave donor who also received the letter and haven’t spoken to Guido yet, get in touch. The police would also like to hear from you…

mdi-timer 9 February 2018 @ 12:07 9 Feb 2018 @ 12:07 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments