Labour funding: now we have an association of one!

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 . . .

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8 Responses to Labour funding: now we have an association of one!

  1. paul smith says:

    You need to get your facts straight here. A group does not exist unless it has at least two members. I think you will find that all Labour Councillors on Bristol are members of the group

  2. thebristolblogger says:

    No. I think you will find that one Labour councillor on Bristol is a declared member of the group.
    Oh dear. A non-existent group has donated money to the Labour party now then. Excellent.

  3. Mike C says:

    The trouble with so called investigative blogging is that it allows poisonous little little bloggers (or should that be LibDems) to spread lies more easily than ever.
    A quick glance through the declarations shows that Labour Members (and indeed members of other parties as far as I could see) have correctly registered themselves as members of and sponsored by the relevant party. The Labour members are correctly members of the Labour Group and there is no requirement that you should be separately registered in the declarations of interest – that would be like registering you are a councillor in the councillors register.
    Bit pointless really.
    Just like LibDems.

  4. I’m aware of the usual justifications/descriptions but what is the real point of having Lord Mayor at all?

    I’d like to see the Lord Mayor go altogether or at leas for the role/funding/selection radically reformed.

  5. redzone says:

    investigative blogging allows little bloggers (non venomous species) to expose the corruption & scandals that we the taxpayers know goes on, but have limited time & resources to find out about!
    the truth & the facts will certainly not come from the politicians themselves!!!
    keep up the good work bristol blogger!!

  6. I for one am prepared to welcome what some might see as ‘poisonous little bloggers’ if they shake the establishment and ask difficult questions (albeit in their own sweet way!).

    Maybe BB has hit a sore spot here??

    Bloggers may have their own agendas of course but the Bristol Blogger site is open for people to freely contradict its contents and argue the toss about things. People who dont like the BB content can also run their own blog site too of course.

    I’m cant say that I’m impressed with the balance, fairness and impartiality (!!!) of much of the media…it does not take much investigation to establish their interests in the status quo. At least BB adds a bit of spice and variety !

  7. Bluebaldee says:


    Now who do I believe……the Bristol Blogger who has a pop at everyone, be they Labour, Lib Dem, Tory, Green, Trot, Anarchist, Merchant Venturer or None of the Above.

    Or do I believe the spokesperson for the Labour Party, Mr Paul Smith?

    After all, Labour are squeeky clean regarding funding, would never accept money for any kind of political position or honour and are totally competent in all areas of governance.

    Aren’t they?

  8. thebristolblogger says:

    The confusing thing is why Smith doesn’t just tell us where the money’s come from and put the whole matter to bed?

    Instead, he wants to argue the toss about whether or not his councillors need to register an interest or not. A matter that will be decided by a Standards Board on the basis of legal advice not by members of the Labour Party.

    As far as I can see there’s two obvious reasons why he ain’t telling:

    1. He doesn’t know, which is worrying situation to be in for a former chair of the Bristol Labour Party and Parliamentary candidate.

    2. He doesn’t want to tell. Then you have to wonder why not?

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