29/11/2007

Labour Donations Row Moves To Commons As Harman Grilled

The row over donations to the Labour party continues today with the party's Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman being put on the spot over alleged unlawful donations when she faces MPs.

The donations row was prompted by the news that property developer David Abrahams had given more than £650,000 to Labour under other people's names – which breaks the rules on donations and has even prompted calls from the Lib Dems and Tories for a police investigation.

Ms Harman said she took "in good faith" £5,000 from Janet Kidd without knowing it was actually Mr Abrahams' money.

She will face MPs for her weekly grilling as Leader of the House of Commons.

The Conservatives have a series of questions they want to ask Ms Harman about whether she knew the money was from Mr Abrahams and how the donation to her deputy leadership campaign came to be offered.

Yesterday, Gordon Brown came to her defence on Wednesday saying there was not "one iota" of evidence that she knew about the donation's true origins before Saturday.

But her position was not helped by the revelation that her fellow deputy leadership contender, Hilary Benn, rejected a donation from Janet Kidd after being told by one of his team, Baroness Jay, that the money was actually from Mr Abrahams.

Mr Abrahams, who says he donated money under other people's names to protect his privacy and did not know it broke laws, then agreed to give money to Mr Benn in his own name instead.

(BMcC)


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