PM Confirms Return Of Labour Donations

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has confirmed that money donated to the Labour anonymously by property developer David Abrahams would be returned.

Speaking at his monthly press conference, Mr Brown said that £600,000 worth of donations from Mr Abrahams would be returned because they were not "lawfully declared".

The Prime Minister said that the donations "could not be justified" and were "completely unacceptable". He also said that Peter Watt's resignation as Labour General Secretary on Monday had been a "necessary first step" but said that more needed to be done.

Mr Brown said that it first become aware of Mr Abrahams' donations on Saturday evening.

It had emerged that Mr Abrahams had donated money to the party over four years, under the names of three associates.

Harriet Harman revealed that she had accepted a donation of £5,000 "in good faith" from Janet Kidd - one of the people whom Mr Abrahams made the donation through - for her deputy leadership campaign.

Hilary Benn, now the Environment Secretary, said that he had been offered £5,000 by Ms Kidd for his deputy leadership campaign, but had turned it down. He later accepted a donation by Mr Abrahams under his own name.

Mr Brown said that retired judge Lord McCluskey and the former Bishop of Oxford Lord Harries had been appointed to advise on changes needed in relation to donations.

However, commenting on the affair, Conservative leader David Cameron said: "There is a time in the life of every government when it slips over from complacency into arrogance, and from arrogance into even indifference for the law."

Vince Cable, acting Liberal Democrat Leader, said: "This sleazy affair is far more serious than initially thought and could be a matter for a criminal investigation."


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