05/12/2008

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.

A police inquiry was launched into the funding campaign, organised by the former Pensions Secretary, which aimed to propel him into the Labour deputy leader position. Harriet Harman later won the vote.

The incident was one of several that plagued Gordon Brown's transition into Number 10.

As a result, Mr Brown pledged to restore public trust in the government when he took office in June 2007.
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His predecessor Tony Blair has been dogged by similar corruption allegations, leading the police to investigate a number of party funding issues, including the so-called 'cash for peerages' scandal.

According the Crown Prosecution Service, there was not enough evidence to charge Mr Hain, who was first elected as an MP in 1991.

Crown Lawyer Stephen O'Doherty said, although Hain did not report all donations to the electoral watchdog within the required 30 days, he was not directly responsible for dealing with money given to his campaign team.

Mr O'Doherty said he had advised police to take no further action.

In a statement, Mr Hain said he was pleased to have cleared his name over the late declaration of the gift of more than £100,000.

He said: "I said all along that reporting some of the donations to my 2007 Labour Party deputy leader campaign late was an honest mistake,

"Now everyone knows that it was," added the MP.

(PR)

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