Excl: Watson continues to take donations from major donor to rival ‘Change’ party

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.

Rupa Huq

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.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

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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  1. If Sir David wants to throw his money away on this bunch of no hopers more fool him.
    Regarding Tom Watson – would anything this money grubber does surprise you?

  2. So many articles on TW skwawky! And every one of them provides another reason why he shouldn’t be deputy leader.

    1. Watson should have been expelled from the Labour Party when he advocated nuclear war.

  3. Shouldn’t: the LFI be honest and change it’s name to the Zionist Friends of Israel?

  4. I don’t believe Labour should be “the friends of anyone”, we should just do the honest thing. Call out rogue states and offer hope to the oppressed.

    1. Regarding Tom Watson, what does he need to do to bring the party into disrepute. The mind boggles, any other organisation would have shown him the door years ago, he’s nothing more than a money grabbing parasite.

    2. Friends of the British working class would be good. Our international ambition should happen once we’ve got our own zero hour contract, gig economy in order…..and then it should be reserved for countries with the boot on their necks, like Venezuela.

    3. I’m happy to be friends with all Jews who support Labour but I’d no more be a friend to a Jewish Tory than I would any other Tory.
      Friend of Israel? I’ll be its friend when it stops buying the support of the most powerful nation on earth to protect it from the just opprobrium of the rest of the world, and stops buying British Jews and others to bring about the destruction of Jeremy Corbyn.
      I don’t deny Israel’s right to exist as a nation, but neither do I deny the Palestinians’ right to their own nation – which Israel denies them daily by force of arms and by settling their land.
      Israel proclaims itself the only democracy in the region – as if that justified apartheid.

      1. “I don’t deny Israel’s right to exist as a nation … ”

        What does that mean, though?

        I’d defend the right of those living in Israel to have the security of a peaceful future.

        But I wouldn’t defend their right to be citizens of a ‘Jewish’ state : i.e. a state that is exclusionary on the basis of religious mythology, any more than I would defend the existence of a Caliphate.

        Nor would I defend the existence of a state that excludes and discriminates against the natural community of its geographical area – the theft of their land and military suppression.

        Essentially, the notion of a ‘Jewish Sate’ is as much of a backward nonsense as a ‘Christian State’, an ‘Islamic State’ or a ‘Flat Earth State’ – etc. etc.

        Time to get real.

      2. RH, David, how do you solve such an intractable problem? It seems to me that, if anyone who is Jewish has a right to Israeli citizenship and ‘right of return’ then Palestinians must be allowed the same right. How can anybody who is not a racist argue otherwise? But I’m afraid I see little possibility of that happening.

      3. Sorry, Simon – didn’t see your post before.

        The concept of zionism is, by definition, racist. It has the same 19thC nationalist roots as all other manifestations of the same impulse.

        My argument would be that any peace settlement would have to protect the security of those already lured to Israel/Palestine. But then, yes, further immigration would have to be limited to those of genuine Palestinian exile – based on actual geographical heritage rather than religious mythology.

      4. RH, that would in some ways be a good solution, not least because anything else would create a rush to try to cram as many new immigrants in as quickly as possible to maintain a majority of the population.
        However, I’m sure that stopping those who are currently entitled to immigrate to Israel (which can be on the basis of even a single Jewish grandparent with no other connection), would be regarded as grossly racist by the usual suspects.
        I understand that many Jewish people have a general idea that it’s somehow a good security to have the possibility of moving to a Jewish state. That’s understandable given the repeated horrendous oppression and the ongoing hostility in places like Hungary. However, we live in a limited world and I don’t see that that desire should trump the rights of the dispossessed Palestinian peoples.

  5. You’d think that with at least David Garrard’s £1.5m in their back pocket, the IG could afford to vet the social media history of their candidates, but obviously not!

  6. Tom Watson is a dishonourable money grubbing self server. He is not a Labour person, he belongs to whoever buys him.

  7. If the money was donated to Tom Watson to run the deputy Leaders Office it should have gone into a Labour Party account connected to that post and not be sed for any other reason. Once it is in a Labour Party Account the money officially belongs to “The Labour Party”

  8. Garrard’s Wikipedia page explains everything…

    (And for the record, it’s the inaction against people like Watson that destroyed my faith in Labour)

  9. I’m unfamiliar with protocol regarding donations. Presumably the donor will want to know how their money is spent, but do the rest of us have a right to know?

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