Labour Together, a group linked to Labour leader Keir Starmer, is under investigation by the Electoral Commission for alleged breaches of electoral law.
Failure to declare
Business Insider’s exclusive reports that Labour Together (LT), “which counts among its current directors” shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy, failed to declare “over £800,000 in donations within the time required under law”. Just £165,000 of the £970,492 donated to LT was declared within the 30 day period required. Another possible irregularity is the failure by LT to register a “responsible person within 30 days of accepting a reportable donation”.
According to Business Insider:
Figures published on the Electoral Commission website in February 2021 show 10 donations for a total of £298,992. Only one of these donations, worth £50,000, is shown to have been received by Labour Together within 30 days of it being reported. The rest range from between June 2017 and April 2019.
Figures published by the Electoral Commission in December 2020 show 19 donations for a total of £465,500. None of these donations appear to have been received in the 30 days prior to their reported date of 10th December 2020. They range from June 2018 to September 2020.
The December 2020 report was the first report of donations made by Labour Together since July 2018. A November 2017 report of donations included sums given in June and August 2017 totalling £46,000, while a £45,000 donation in June 2016 was not reported until August 2016.
Business Insider points out that Martin Taylor, a hedge fund manager, is LT’s “most significant donor to date”. He donated over £700,000. Business Insider also states that businessman Trevor Chinn, who is listed as a director of LT, donated £225,500. Chinn also donated money to former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and former Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) chair Joan Ryan.
According to The Canary’s John McEvoy:
Chinn is a member of the executive committee of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) which, according to Electronic Intifada, is a “British pro-Israel lobby group”.
McEvoy adds that another LT director (though no longer listed as such) is Morgan McSweeney, who is also:
one of the directors of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). Despite the non-British spelling, the centre is a registered British company which shares its address with Labour Together in East Finchley, London. According to its website, the CCDH’s only patron is Rachel Riley, who has notoriously campaigned to shut down independent news sites and branded Jewish intellectual Noam “Chomski” (i.e. Chomsky) an antisemite.
Hannah O’Rourke, acting director of Labour Together, told Business Insider:
We are aware of an administrative oversight around donations to Labour Together. This was entirely unintentional, and we contacted the Electoral Commission to make them aware of this as soon as we became aware of the error.
We are now fully transparent and compliant with regards to our donations, and are cooperating fully with the Electoral Commission to assist them in their ongoing inquiry. This was an oversight on our part and we proactively approached the commission to put it right. We are in the process of working with them to ensure this does not happen again.
Oversight over such a long time period is hard to believe, but what’s of equal concern is the political nature of the donors. Labour Together would obviously benefit from greater scrutiny and we will continue to hold it to account.
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