Labour deputy leader accepting funding from one of rival party’s chief contributors
The latest update to the register of MPs interests shows that Tom Watson, the Labour Party’s unpopular deputy leader, received a substantial donation – £10,000 – this month from multimillionaire David Garrard:
Garrard, who has given Watson significant sums on two previous occasions according to the Electoral Commission’s website, was reported to have ‘quit’ the party a year ago, but the donations to Watson have continued.
However, interests update also shows Garrard making significant donations to quitter MPs – after they quit the Labour Party – and with a particular generosity toward Joan Ryan, who is now a member of the ‘Change UK’ party about to compete against Labour in the European Parliament elections:
Garrard has not limited his largesse to individual ‘Change’ MPs. On 23 February, the Telegraph reported his donation of £1.5 million directly to the ‘Independent Group’ – now ‘Change UK’ (CUK):
This single gift exceeded Garrard’s entire history of donations to the Labour Party, according to the Electoral Commission database.
Mr Garrard is funding a party inimical to Labour’s aims and which has said at least twice, including just this week, that it will prop up the Tory government rather than risk an election.
Yet Tom Watson continues to accept large donations from the same donor – donations made and accepted well after the departure of quitter MPs and Garrard’s donation to them and their organisation.
Just yesterday, news emerged that Labour MP Rupa Huq has ended her support for the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) group. Ms Huq cited among her reasons for leaving the group that it has retained Joan Ryan – the same ‘Change UK’ MP mentioned above – as its chair. Referring to CUK’s original name, Ms Huq told her local party that she did not wish:
to be associated with ‘the Independent Group Friends of Israel’
In fact, the article reports that all six former Labour MPs who were members of LFI and are now part of CUK are still listed as parliamentary supporters on LFI’s website.
The SKWAWKBOX asked Tom Watson why he was still accepting funds from David Garrard – and whether, in view of Rupa Huq’s principled stance regarding ‘Change’, he would now confirm that he would not accept further donations. He did not respond by the time of publication.
It is surely unacceptable – and untenable – for Tom Watson to continue to accept cash from a major funder of a rival party, especially one that has promised to prop up the disastrous Tory government inflicting misery on millions.
It’s surely unlikely that many Labour Party members will disagree.
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