UK prime minister says donations were not lawfully declared

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gordon Brown, in the United States on July 30, 2007.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown has announced that donations made to his political party, the Labour Party were "not lawfully declared" as they were donated through a middleman. According to UK law, all donations over £50,000 must be declared along with the name of the donator and all donations made through middlemen must declare the original donator. David Abraham officially donated the money, which totaled almost £600,000, through 3 third parties. They have been named as; Ray Ruddick who donated £196,850 since 2003, Janet Kidd, who has donated £185,000 since 2003 and John McCarthy, who has donated £202,125 since 2004.

The money was not lawfully declared so it will be returned

—Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown said he had "no knowledge" of these donations and said "they can not be justified" and that it will be returned. Brown said that although this practice has happened for some years, he was first aware of it on Saturday evening. "The money was not lawfully declared so it will be returned," he said.

As well as returning the money, the general secretary of the Labour Party has stood down as a result of this incident. This scandal emerged just months after it was announced there will be no charges in the cash for honours inquiry, which was related to donations to the Labour Party as well as other political parties.

This could be another blow to the Labour Party, who appear to be facing a sharp decline in popularity, with some polls suggesting they are even less popular than in the last days of Tony Blair's premiership, despite a large surge in popularity when Brown came to power.

The acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, whose party suffered from the increase in Labour's popularity said "an enormous can of worms had been opened up" and that the UK government should have introduced new regulations on the funding of political parties.