As reported yesterday, ‘the Bristol Labour Group’ – an unincorporated association listing a Council House address – has donated £10,000 in cash in this year alone to the Bristol North West Labour Constituency Party.
The presumption yesterday was that ‘the Bristol Labour Group’ was made up of Bristol’s Labour councillors. Not so apparently. Today we find that according to the city council’s register of members’ interests there is only one declared member of this association at the Council House – Councillor Royston Griffey, the current Lord Mayor.
This is becoming rather murky. An unincorporated association with connections to the Bristol Labour Party and based within the local authority – apparently with tens of thousands of pounds washing around in it from an, as yet, unknown source – now has only one declared member within that local authority.
The council’s constitution is very clear on this matter:
Registration of members’ interests
13. (1) Subject to paragraph 14, you must, within 28 days of-
(a) this Code being adopted by or applied to your authority; or
(b) your election or appointment to office (where that is later), register in your authority’s register of members’ interests (maintained under section 81(1) of the Local Government Act 2000) details of your personal interests where they fall within a category mentioned in paragraph 8(1)(a), by providing written notification to your authority’s monitoring officer.
(2) Subject to paragraph 14, you must, within 28 days of becoming aware of any new personal interest or change to any personal interest registered under paragraph (1), register details of that new personal interest or change by providing written notification to your authority’s monitoring officer.
Obviously membership of an association generating and managing tens of thousands of pounds for political purposes would fall within the definition of an “interest”.
Can we assume then that no Labour Councillor apart from Griffey is currently a member of ‘the Bristol Labour Group’? Unless of course they have all failed to register their interest? Why would that be? Collective amnesia is it? Or maybe they don’t know their informal little group is actually awash with tens of thousands of pounds and their membership of it therefore needs to be declared?
At present this doesn’t look too good for Griffey does it? As a former middle-ranking civil servant – who owns the Bishopsworth Manor House and rather weirdly likes to walk around styling himself as the Lord of the Manor up there – he appears wealthy and has a string of property and business interests across the city.
And despite having no track record whatsoever in Labour politics, Griffey was handed the safe ward of Hartcliffe by Bristol Labour party in 2002 and immediately started lobbying to get the post of Lord Mayor.
Five years on and Griffey remarkably has his wish granted, along with being the only publicly declared member of an unincorporated association that has donated, at least, £10,000 in cash to a Constituency Labour Party for a marginal Westminster seat in the city.
As things currently stand, it rather looks like the cash from ‘the Bristol Labour Group’ could only have come from its only declared member, Royston Griffey, in a clear breach of the law on party donations.
Cash for mayoral nominations anyone? What a great story, an allegation surely, which only the idiots that are Bristol Labour Party could leave themselves open to? Perhaps our illustrious Labour councillors have something to declare?
The Blogger will continue digging . . .