Tag Archives: donation

Electoral Commission ‘wrongly recorded donations to Conservatives’. Oh, so is that all right, then?

Backhander? Or tax evasion? What was really going on with the donations to the Tory Party by companies that had long since gone out of business?

The Electoral Commission has admitted that it mistakenly recorded a donation to the Conservatives from an active company as being from a defunct firm, because they shared the same address.

It has asked for another mistake in recording a donation to the Tories to be taken into account as well.

Does that let the Tories off the hook, then?

No. No, it doesn’t.

There remains one more donation (of which we’re aware) to be explained.

It was apparently made by a firm called Unionist Buildings Limited, in June 2017. Records show the firm was dissolved six months early, in January that year.

The Conservatives have admitted incorrectly reporting donations from that firm but have given no further details.

Why not? Guilty conscience?

These discrepancies only came to light after the Labour Party discovered them and raised them with the Electoral Commission.

How can we be sure they are the only examples of false reporting of donations? We can’t, can we?

HM Revenue and Customs will be interested in donations from dissolved companies, particular if there are monies owing to HMRC or other creditors, because if you can pay donations, then you can pay your creditors.

Also, if this money came from the company, then was it profit generated by the company? If it was, then Corporation Tax and VAT is very likely to be due upon it.

In other words, has Labour uncovered tax evasion by Tory donors?

If so, we need to find out if this is an isolated incident or if it is more widespread. And we need to know now.

I wonder how the Tories will try to squirm out of this.

Source: Elections watchdog admits errors in reporting Tory donations – BBC News

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Tory time travel: now we find the Corruption Party has taken donations from dead firms

Backhander: is this how the Tories take their donations nowadays? In secret, so the donors can hide their identities in increasingly bizarre ways?

I can’t wait to hear the explanation for this, from whichever Tory anti-corruption tsar, ministerial standards watchdog or donations supremo will be ordered to whitewash it.

Will it bear any resemblance to the finding of the Electoral Commission, which is investigating?

Here’s the issue:

Two donations allegedly made to the Conservative Party from companies which had ceased to exist.

That’s right; they didn’t cease trading after giving the donations. They had already ceased to exist when the donations – worth £16,000 – were made.

It’s impossible. Logically, these were donations by people who wanted to hide the fact that they were donating to the Tories.

Now, why would anybody want to do that?

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, parties may only accept donations from a UK-registered company if it “carries on business in the United Kingdom”.

So a logical possibility is that these were donations from foreign concerns who had an interest – possibly financial – in the Conservatives.

For clarity, these are the donations concerned:

One was for a sum of £10,000 made in November 2019 by a company called Stridewell Estates. Government records indicate that the firm had been dissolved three years previously.

The second donation was made in June 2017 by a company called Unionist Buildings Limited which had apparently been dissolved in January of that year.

I wonder also if this is something to do with Brexit. I’ll say no more than that, for now.

Another question is why it took Labour this long to query these donations. Too busy accusing innocent party members of anti-Semitism?

Source: Labour demands probe into donations to Tories from defunct firms – BBC News

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Anyone who knowingly misleads Parliament should resign. So why hasn’t Johnson gone?

The double-standards in this story are atrocious.

On one side, we see Nicola Sturgeon. The First Minister of Scotland has been found to have misled Parliament by giving an inaccurate account of meetings with Alex Salmond in 2018.

If an inquiry finds that she knowingly uttered falsehoods, then that is a resignation offence for an elected minister of any government, according to the Ministerial Code, and she should go – without question.

On the other side, we see Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has been accused of having misled Parliament by failing to provide details of funding for renovations to his official Downing Street flat.

The allegation is that private donations to the Conservative Party totalling £60,000 have been used as part of £200,000 worth of refurbishments to the flat.

If so, it should have been reported to the Electoral Commission, because the Ministerial Code demands that “a statement covering relevant Ministers’ interests will be published twice yearly”. The last such statement appeared last July, eight months ago.

It seems clear that Johnson has knowingly breached the Code in failing to declare the sources of funding for the flat.

So he should resign – right?

But within Parliament there has been no pressure for him to do so, while Tory calls for Sturgeon to take a hike have been punitive in their decibel level.

Labour’s Keir Starmer, despite being a lawyer, has claimed Sturgeon should go whether she knowingly misled Parliament or not – which is another indication that he should not be in politics, let alone running a political party.

10 Downing Street says all appropriate codes were followed, but this rings hollow. What does Allegra Stratton, Johnson’s press secretary, mean by “appropriate”? Something different from the dictionary definition, one would guess.

That’s how Downing Street has explained the other ways Johnson has recently misled Parliament, as I mentioned in a previous article:

After he said there would be no funding cut for the body tasked with improving transport in the north (he’s taking away 40 per cent of its funding), Downing Street tried to suggest he had been talking about transport generally for the north of England.

And after he claimed all Covid-19 contracts had been published and were “on the record” – only to be contradicted by the High Court – a minister said all CANs – Contract Award Notices – had been published. They are not the same thing.

Today’s howler was his claim, in Prime Minister’s Questions, that Keir Starmer had voted against a promise of a 2.1 per cent pay rise for nurses – that his own government is breaking.

The plan was in the NHS Funding Bill last year – which passed without a formal vote because all the main parties supported it. Starmer didn’t need to vote, but if he had, he would have supported the Bill.

Johnson (or rather, Stratton – he’d done his usual runner) eventually came out with a claim that he had been saying Starmer voted against the Queen’s Speech – but the plan wasn’t mentioned in it.

The document Starmer had been waving around at PMQs – and to which he had been referring – was the NHS long-term plan, which was a policy document and not a piece of legislation on which he could have voted.

So it seems clear that Johnson had knowingly misled Parliament but the issue also seems to have gone away because nobody is calling for his resignation over it.

If you’re wondering who did fund the renovation, here‘s openDemocracy:

The Daily Mail has reported that Downing Street allegedly sought to plug the gap in the six-figure refurbishment of the prime ministerial flat using Conservative Party funds. After the party initially paid for part of the refurb, the Mail reports, Conservative Party donor Lord Brownlow gave it £60,000 last autumn to make up the difference.

The Mail also claims that party officials have since been looking for ways to keep the donation anonymous by returning it, and then repeating it through a new ‘Downing Street Trust’ that would conceal the original source.

Lord Brownlow, who served as vice-chairman of the Tory party in 2017-20 and was made a peer in 2019 by Theresa May, is expected to head up this new non-charitable trust.

So the person who allegedly provided this dodgy donation is set to head the organisation dedicated to hushing it up. More corrupt cronyism?

Let’s face it: nobody involved in this is going to come out smelling of roses.

It’s just that Boris Johnson, more than anybody else, is going to be smelling of faeces.

And it will take more than a Union Flag to wipe them away.

Source: Election watchdog quizzes Tory party over funding of PM’s flat makeover – BBC News

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More gay and bisexual men can give blood – after wait of more than six years (at least!)

It is more than six years since I tore metaphorical shreds off of Michael Fabricant for suggesting the ban on all gay men giving blood should be lifted – and this announcement proves I was right.

At the time, Fabricant reckoned the ban on sexually promiscuous gay men should be lifted as straight men who behave in the same manner do not suffer the same discrimination.

I stated that this was insane – partly because it misrepresented the issue.

The problem, I said, was that the ban did not only affect sexually promiscuous gay men, but any man who had had sex with another man, with or without a condom.

This clearly discriminated against gay men who were in a monogamous relationship in which both partners were free of infection. They should not be covered by the ban, I said.

Fast forward to the new announcement:

Men who have sex with men in a long-term relationship will now be able to donate blood at any time.

The new criteria [focus] on individual behaviours, lifting a blanket ban for any men who have had sex with men in the last three months.

All blood donors who have had one sexual partner and who have been with their sexual partner for more than three months, will now be eligible to donate regardless of their gender, the gender of their partner, or the type of sex they have.

Under previous rules, all men who have sex with men had to abstain from sex for three months in order to donate.

It is as though the authorities had (belatedly) read my article.

There was more to it than is being stated by the BBC, though. Here’s what I wrote, back in 2014:

The ban was put in place – unless the memory cheats – because blood supplies donated by gay men were discovered to be infected with HIV. Anybody can see that a ban on anything that could spread HIV is entirely sensible and should only be lifted if technology has moved on enough for doctors to spot infected blood immediately or screen out the infection in blood that has been donated.

The issue then was that people who had been in a monogamous relationship for a long period of time, and who did not have HIV when they started it, were not going to have it when they applied to give blood either, and it was discriminatory to ban them from doing so.

The new change rectifies that. I welcome it.

Source: Blood donation: Rule change means more gay and bisexual men can give blood – BBC News

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Keir Starmer asked an apparent anti-Semite to fund his Labour Party. Should he send back the cash?

David Abrahams: Labour leader Keir Starmer approached him for donations but may have to hand the cash back after it was revealed he had attacked fellow Jewish people with different political opinions as “self-hating Jews”, which is an anti-Semitic smear.

Mainstream media types are focusing on the Islamophobic aspect of philanthropist (it says here) David Abrahams’s comments.

Why?

Even though he may have been heavily involved with the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel, it seems very clear to me – and, I think, to anybody with a brain – that he is a raving anti-Semite.

Look at the comments in black that are quoted in Ben’s tweet, below:

“Self-hating Jew” (or Jews), according to the Urban Dictionary, is the derogatory code phrase for Jewish people “who speak out against the actions or policies of the government of Israel, Zionists or other Jewish controlled organizations”.

It is not a description of people who actually hate themselves because they are Jewish.

It is an attack on Jewish people who hold different political views from Jews who do support the actions and policies of the government of Israel, Zionists and other Jewish-controlled organisations (that, I would add for the sake of clarity, also support the Israeli government and the kind of Zionism it professes).

It is also clearly anti-Semitic, because it attacks what these people are, and claims that they are not what they should be.

So this Abrahams character is an anti-Semite, right? Or at the very least it seems he has put forward anti-Semitic views.

The Islamophobic tripe he is said to have come out with is bad enough, but this seems to put the seal on the nature of the man.

What does it say about Keir Starmer that this is the kind of person the new New Labour leader approaches to fund his party, now that the membership is dwindling down to him, Angela Rayner and Luke Akehurst?

Now, after the embarrassing facts have become public, Starmer is being urged to hand back the cash – to give an assurance that he won’t have any truck with the kind of racism that’s being pushed here.

Trouble is, Starmer asked for Abrahams to contribute, knowing full well what kind of man he is – whatever kind of man he really is.

Also, a recent report on shocking levels of Islamophobia within the Labour Party received only a lukewarm reception from Starmer.

And Labour’s record proves it is happy to smear as anti-Semites Jews who don’t support the pro-Israel, aggressive-Zionist pose that Starmer has been pushing.

So will he hand back the cash?

And if he does, how will he keep Labour’s finances from falling apart?

NOTE: This is not the first time donations to the Labour Party by David Abrahams have been controversial. In 2007 he was at the heart of the so-called “donorgate” row that forced former leader Gordon Brown to launch an inquiry into party funding – and prompted the Electoral Commission to call the police.

He had given more than £650,000 to Labour using the names of associates, and told the BBC he had “gifted funds to my friends and colleagues” so they could make donations on his behalf because he was a “very private person who did not seek publicity”.

It was thought to have been a breach of the law on transparent disclosure, but Abrahams was subsequently cleared by the police.

The result of Gordon Brown’s inquiry has yet to be published, it seems.

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Tories took donations from oligarch linked to Putin. Is this why they never investigated Russian interference in UK politics?

Vladimir Putin: has Boris Johnson been his puppet since before he became the UK’s prime minister?

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has definitely taken donations from people linked to Russia’s President Putin – and provided private meetings with the last three UK prime ministers in return.

The money totalling £1.7 million came from Vladimir Chernukhin via his wife Lubov, according to the so-called FinCEN files – leaked “suspicious activity reports” by banks.

According to BBC News,

Leaked files show her husband received $8m (£6.1m). The money initially came from a politician facing US sanctions due to his closeness to the Kremlin.

A leak of banks’ “suspicious activity reports” … shows Vladimir Chernukhin was sent the money in 2016 from a British Virgin Islands company linked to Suleyman Kerimov.

Billionaire Mr Kerimov is the owner of Russia’s biggest gold mine and member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament.

In 2018 he was sanctioned by the US authorities, who were targeting those they said “play a key role in advancing Russia’s malign activities”.

Mr Chernukhin, 52, is a former deputy minister of finance under Vladimir Putin, who left Russia for London in 2004 after being sacked by the president.

The Chernukhins – one of the UK’s most prominent Russian-born couples – are now both British citizens and live in London.

Mrs Chernukhin’s donations to the Conservative Party began in 2012.

The majority – more than £1.5m – came after the $8m payment linked to Mr Kerimov was made to her husband on 29 April 2016, although it is not clear if any of that cash went to the Tories.

Mrs Chernukhin’s lawyers say the Kremlin had no influence because of the donations – but they would, wouldn’t they?

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has suffered a huge amount of bad publicity over his reluctance to do anything about suspicious donations from Russians linked to Putin’s government.

A report on Russian interference in UK politics – including the use of donations to influence policy – was due to be published before last year’s general election but Boris Johnson shelved it for no good reason.

It remained unpublished until pressure finally forced Johnson to re-convene the UK’s security committee, responsible for it, in July this year – nine months after the public should have seen it.

And it showed that successive Conservative governments have welcomed Russian oligarchs “with open arms”, giving them access to political figures “at the highest levels” – and made absolutely no attempt to investigate Russian interference in referendums and elections; in fact, the Tories “actively avoided” doing so.

The Tories had been delighted to welcome Russian money and the oligarchs who owned it, “providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London ‘laundromat’.”

In response to the report, the government said it saw no evidence of interference – but it seems clear that there is a good reason for that: nobody was looking. The report made it clear that the defence of UK democratic processes was a “hot potato” over which no government organisation wanted to take the lead in conducting an assessment of Russian interference.

So we already had evidence that Conservative government had given Russian oligarchs who donated money to the party unprecedented access to – and, we may conclude, influence over – top-ranked political figures including the last three prime ministers.

Now we have evidence that this money is likely to have come from the Kremlin, attached to demands from the Putin government.

If Boris Johnson and his government continue to deny any wrongdoing – while refusing to allow an independent investigation – the public will have no choice but to brand them as corrupt lackeys of the Russians.

I mean…

How does it look to you?

Source: FinCEN Files: Tory donor Lubov Chernukhin linked to $8m Putin ally funding – BBC News

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Is Keir Starmer re-installing corruption into the Labour Party, with the wealth of private donors?


There is nothing to praise in the way Keir Starmer has managed to replace a small subscriptions by a large amount of people with large donations by a small number of wealthy benefactors.

No matter how The Guardian dresses it up, it signals a return to the bad days of New Labour, when the party’s direction was dictated by a small number of wealthy donors – for their own gain – rather than by its members for the good of the UK as a whole.

Look at this, from the Guardian‘s article:

“I would not give Labour money under Corbyn, but I would now be happy to give money to Labour,” said one significant former donor.

Those are the words of a person who is “for the few, not the many” – an inversion of Labour’s famous slogan.

The article also quotes Michael Levy, “Labour’s leading fundraiser under Tony Blair”, as follows:

Whereas I would say major donors would have had no interest over this last period, I think there is a real possibility now that they will return to the fold. The party needs to be funded by people who believe in the cause.

Whose cause?

Some of us have very clear ideas about that:

Consider this, from a sitting Labour MP:

That is absolutely right. And a return to a situation where private donors have more say than the rank-and-file members is simply unacceptable.

Look at a few other comments and consider the implications:

If Corbyn’s Labour was “crony donor free”, then Starmer’s isn’t – and that is a bad thing.

https://twitter.com/Kayayemela/status/1292163222540361729

Again, “individual wealthy backers” = bad.

“The Labour Party should be about the people. Always.” But the presence of wealthy donors will prevent that.

James Foster is right. As are the others.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour didn’t need “big money”. It had plenty of “small money”, if that’s how some people want to describe it.

The fact that “big money” is coming back to Keir Starmer’s Labour indicates that “small money” is leaving.

It also indicates that “big money” wants to support Starmer’s appeasement of those staffers who are accused of sabotaging the Corbyn project, of racism, misogyny and in some cases anti-Semitism. Because it makes Corbyn look bad without actually proving anything either way?

This is a very bad look for Starmer’s new New Labour.

We already have evidence that indicates around 2,000 people are leaving the party every week.

This may multiply that outward flood into a deluge.

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MPs from all parties say failure to release Russia report is ‘affront to democracy’

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko.

If a week in politics is a long time, how would you describe eight months? An eternity?

That’s the length of time Boris Johnson has been sitting on the report into Russian interference in UK democracy.

He says it cannot be released because the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee has not been reconvened since it was dissolved for the December 2019 general election and has no members.

But this is a feeble excuse when one realises that the only reason for this is, Boris Johnson nominates everybody on this committee – and he hasn’t bothered to do so.

It is the only committee that Parliament has yet to appoint, and it is extremely unusual for a Parliament to fail to appoint it for six months – one-tenth of its term.

If Johnson wanted, this committee could meet on Monday and the report could be out on Tuesday (June 23).

He simply doesn’t want to – and now a cross-party group of MPs have slammed his inaction as an affront to democracy. They’re absolutely right:

MPs on Tuesday wrote to the UK prime minister to tell him it “is untenable for you to continue to block the publication of the Russia report,” adding that “the situation is an affront to democracy.”

The letter… tells Johnson “your refusal to allow publication of this crucial document raises serious concerns and questions about the transparency and integrity of our democratic process.”

Johnson faces fresh pressure to publish the report after the Electoral Commission last week published new data showing continued financial support for the Conservative party from the wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s Russian government.

The letter to Johnson says this new information highlighted “the party’s deep connections to Russian oligarchs,” and “further questions as to why you are so reluctant to reconstitute the Intelligence and Security Committee.”

Source: Boris Johnson failure to release Russia report an affront to democracy – Business Insider

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As Russia donates hugely to Tories, there’s still no sign of report on that country’s political interference in UK

Boris Johnson: he says he can’t publish the so-called ‘Russia report’ until a committee on intelligence and security reconvenes to approve it – but he’s responsible for nominating all its members and hasn’t done so. Why not?

Wow. These Tories are coining it very nicely, courtesy of these Russian donors, aren’t they?

Is it because Boris Johnson vetoed a report on Russian interference in UK politics so many months ago, and has been stubbornly refusing to allow its release ever since?

It has just been revealed that Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to former Russian finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin, donated £325,000 to the Conservative party in the first quarter of 2020, according to the latest Electoral Commission data.

In total, Chernukhin has donated £1.6 million to the party over the last five years, including £45,000 for a game of tennis with Johnson, according to the Daily Mail.

An Open Democracy investigation last year found that donations to the Conservative party from Russian business figures and their associates between November 2018 and 2019 came to £498,850 – a significant increase on the previous year, when donations amounted to less than £350,000.

Why are they handing over all this cash?

I mean, nobody dishes out huge amounts of money and expects nothing in return, do they?

Does it have anything to do with the fact that a report on Russian interference in UK politics has been due for publication since December 2019, but Boris Johnson has been suppressing it?

The report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, including information about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union, was finalised in November last year – but Johnson refused to allow it to be published before the December general election. That in itself is suspicious, isn’t it?

After the election, the new Conservative government approved the report’s release on December 13, 2019 – but it still hasn’t become available.

Want to know why?

Because the Intelligence and Security Committee was dissolved with the 2017-19 Parliament and is waiting to be re-convened.

It is now more than six months since the new Parliament began – one-tenth of its lifetime – and this important committee remains devoid of members and has not met.

Want to know why?

Because all members are nominated by the prime minister, who happens to be Boris Johnson – and he hasn’t done it.

We keep reminding him about it…

… but – no. Still nothing.

It’s as if he has something to hide…

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Starmer had £50K from pro-Israel lobbyist. Time for a ‘no confidence’ vote? [POLL]

Keir Starmer: he’s pictured practising the hallmark of his Labour leadership so far – inactivity.

Now we see why Keir Starmer was so cagey about donations to his Labour leadership campaign.

He has been taking cash from lobbyists dedicated to pushing the interests of the Israeli government, from opponents of Jeremy Corbyn and funders of the so-called Independent Group for Change (or whatever they ended up calling themselves) – the Labour splitters who were annihilated in the last general election.

In other words, it seems his funders are opponents of socialist, pro-Middle East peace Labour.

This casts a shadow over his handling of the leaked Labour document on factional interference in the party’s handling of anti-Semitism complaints.

With so many anti-Corbyn funders, and the report showing how anti-Corbyn sentiment informed the lack of exertion on anti-Semitism by the party’s Governance and Legal Unit, it is easy to reach an obvious conclusion about Starmer’s priorities.

This would be hasty. But it certainly seems clear that Starmer’s ainnocence needs to be established before he can continue as leader.

A responsible man would step back, (I think the word is) recuse himself and allow an independent investigation into the report and his donations, returning to office only if he is found innocent of any wrongdoing or corruption.

Trouble is, he hasn’t done that.

So my question is: is it too early for a vote of ‘no confidence’ in this non-leader’s leadership?

Source: Keir Starmer received £50,000 donation from pro-Israel lobbyist in leadership bid | The Canary

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