Hain In Hot Water Over Donations

Government Minister Peter Hain has been reported to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for failing to declare £103,156 in gifts to his Labour deputy leader bid.

The watchdog will investigate whether the work and pensions secretary broke the rules on MPs' conduct.

Downing Street said PM Gordon Brown had "full confidence" in Mr Hain, who has said his failure to declare the donations was an innocent mistake.

But Plaid Cymru has called for Mr Hain - former Northern Ireland Secretary and now Welsh secretary - to resign.

The Conservatives have held back from calling for Mr Hain's resignation, pending the outcome of the investigation by standards commissioner John Lyon.

But Tory work and pensions spokesman Chris Grayling said: "If he gets severely criticised by the standards commissioner I think there will be very real doubts about his future."

Mr Lyon will prepare a report for the Committee on Standards and Privileges, which has the power to suspend Mr Hain from Parliament.

The complaint against Mr Hain was lodged by David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth.

He said MPs had to declare donations in the register of members' interests, as well as to the Electoral Commission, within four weeks.

"What happens next is up to the Committee for Standards, and Gordon Brown, but there has to come a point where people say it's not feasible for him to be running two departments when all this has gone on."

In a statement Mr Hain admitted he had failed to declare £103,156 in donations to his failed campaign to become Labour's deputy leader to the Electoral Commission.

He said he had been too busy with his duties as the then Northern Ireland secretary to concentrate on the "day-to-day administration and organisation" of his deputy leadership bid, something he now "regrets".

In his statement, Mr Hain said it had become necessary to raise more cash after the deputy leadership contest finished in June last year, because "unpaid invoices" emerged during the summer and autumn.

But he learned on 29 November last year that these donations had not been declared within the required timescale, and "immediately" informed the Electoral Commission.

The commission has since been kept in touch with progress on establishing which donations were not registered, added Mr Hain.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

05 December 2008
Hain Will Not Face Donation Charges
Former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain will not face criminal charges over political donations he received during his failed deputy leadership challenge last year. Mr Hain resigned over the matter, forcing the Prime Minister to reshuffle government positions.
15 May 2003
Cut children's salt intake says watchdog
The Food Standards Agency has today issued salt intake targets for children for the first time. The advice is based on a new report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). Recommendations are made on the maximum levels of salt that should be consumed each day by children, according to their age.
22 January 2009
Hain Guilty Of 'Serious And Substantial' Failures
Former cabinet minister Peter Hain has been found guilty of "serious and substantial" failures in not registering donation to his Labour deputy leadership campaign, according to the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee.
24 January 2008
Hain Resigns From Cabinet
Peter Hain has resigned from the Cabinet after the Electoral Commission asked the police to investigate the funding of his deputy leadership campaign. Mr Hain, who was Work and Pensions Secretary and Welsh Secretary, announced that he would resign on Thursday, saying that he wanted to clear his name.
20 June 2003
Hain sparks controversy over taxation
With the backlash over the Cabinet reshuffle slowly receeding into the background, the newly installed Leader of the House Peter Hain has shifted the focus onto taxation – and sparked controversy by suggesting that there should be a new 50% top tax band.