Labour funding: corruption's coming home!

Kerry McCarthyIt’s been very quiet over on Kerry McCarthy’s blog since the Labour Party funding scandal caught fire earlier this week.

It’s just silence – not even an attempt at the latest unbelievable and threadbare “line to take” – from the Bristol East MP and PPS to International Secretary Douglas Alexander. No homilies or soothing explanations from Kerry and no claims as yet that this major tide of corruption engulfing public life and gently lapping at the door of Downing Street itself is merely the result of a few minor administrative errors and an unfortunate misreading of party funding laws.

Oh but hang on a minute . . . Did we just say McCarthy was Private Parliamentary Secretary to Douglas Alexander? Fancy that! Our local MP is the commons bag carrier and fixer for Gordon’s right hand man, election coordinator and the former Transport Secretary who’s right at the centre of these corruption allegations.

If the rising tide of sewage is lapping at Gordon’s door then Dougie is, at least, up to his waist in the shit. During Alexander’s time as Transport Secretary, a controversial business park, Durham Green, which the dodgy donor David Abrahams is believed to be behind, was given the go-ahead by Dougie’s Highways Agency after it was originally refused planning permission by Durham City Council. Coincidentally this change of heart happened only after Labour had received generous donations from the property developer through his intermediaries.

Alexander at present denies being involved in the planning decision. But denials don’t mean much from Labour figures any more do they? Indeed Dougie’s sister Wendy, the Scottish Labour leader, just yesterday denied any knowledge of a donation from a chap called Paul Green, based in Jersey. Today we find a thank you letter dated 5 October 2007 from Wendy to, er . . . Paul Green!

Kerry’s boss Dougie also has a bit of explaining to do in his role as Labour’s General Election Co-ordinator. When Gordon Brown appointed Jon Mendelsohn as Labour’s chief fundraiser to replace Lord Levy, it was stated that he would report directly to Alexander, the General Election Co-ordinator.

So why, when it was discovered this week that Mendelsohn knew all about Abrahams’ third party donor arrangements – despite his initial denials – did he claim he had reported the facts to the disgraced Labour Party General Secretary Peter Watt instead of to his boss Alexander?

Indeed back in September/October when an election looked in the offing, it beggars belief that the party’s chief fundraiser was not in contact and reporting to the party’s General Election Co-ordinator.

But that’s what we’ve got to believe to keep honest Dougie and his boss Gordon in the clear. And we can only wonder what McCarthy, as Alexander’s assistant, knows about all this although she’s not too keen to tell it seems.

Instead we were breathlessly informed on her website on Wednesday as the scandal unfolded: “Kerry has signed an Early Day Motion, calling on the Government to take measures against excessive packaging.” Because apparently: “She agrees that more must be done to reduce levels of packaging.”

Just what was on all our minds this week Kerry. This girl will go far . . .

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