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Whoever you are 'Senior member' don't air your dirty laundry in public and give the other side any ammunition!!!

'Senior member' - meaning elderly member?

If you are going to judge Peter Hain's dep leadership bid on his spending of £200K we should probably judge George Osborne on the fact that he enjoys so much more support than any other shadow cabinet minister. Yeah?

"Mr Christine Hamilton" - A typo surely? ;)

Forgive me, I'm not entirely sure how the process works, but how did all this actually come to light? Is it a simple case of a journalist at he Mail looking at the EC figures and then at the Register of Interests, and putting two and two togeter? Or is this a sort of leakage issue...

Either way, I've already complained to the BBC about their gross over-inflation of this story. They spent more time on the 10pm news talking about Osborne than they did Hain. Remind me which one is accused of actual illegal activity?

It is vitally important that George Osborne is not forced to resign over this issue. We need to keep him on the front bench so he can continue his attacks on Labour ministers for failing to accept responsibility for their wrong doings, passing the buck all the time. This will, of course, all turn out to be someone else's fault, probably someone working class....

Why are you sticking the boot into your own party? What a stupid post.

Daily Referendum: I am sorry you feel that way. I began by saying there is no comparison between the Hain and Osborne donations. I then picked two quotations about the outrageous nature of Hain's behaviour. I make no apology for noting shadow cabinet anger at the failure of the leadership to give them some insight into how centrally-raised funds are shared. The party got into some difficulties last summer when a group of people at the top of our party insisted on pursuing an unbalanced modernising agenda. That, fortunately, is all behind us but the sidelining of the shadow cabinet is not yet quite fixed.

Senior Member you do not seem to get the point. The funds paid to CCHQ included stipulations that a % should be allocated to Mr Osborne. In other words the funds were raised by George and divided. Get off your butt and raise some money instead of whingeing.

ConservativeHome - this is precisely the type of story that gives you a bad name. Indisciplined, bitchy, shortsighted. You should be sticking it to the opposition, not helping Labour with their spurious smear stories.


My comment was perhaps a bit strong and for that I apologise. After a day of listening to Labour MPs and the media (particularly the Beeb) spinning George's donations for all their worth, I was feeling a little tetchy. It's just that I feel we are still not in a stable enough position to be airing our differences in public. The opposition will be desperately looking for ammunition and we do not need to help them.

I agree with Barnet and Griswold, this Senior Member needs to talk to David if he has a problem, and not go whining to bloggers. Especially bloggers with such a massive readership.

In a way it shows honesty that George received all the money pledged to him through donations to the party. It would have been easy to distribute the money to other members of the shadow cabinet, but that would have gone against the wishes of the donors.

No apology necessary Daily Referendum but thank you. I don't always get judgment calls right and expect to be told if I haven't. On this occasion I do believe that there is a real problem of the shadow cabinet being undervalued by the inner circle around the leadership. It isn't just this funding issue but a general problem of an all-powerful kitchen cabinet that does not consult enough and involve other frontbenchers.

Yes Tim, I'm sure some Shadow Cabinet members feel short of resources, and influence, but this issue is as old as the hills. In choosing to raise it on a day when Labour is trying to give the Osborne funding story traction, to protect Hain, you run the risk that you are helping our opponents rather than our own side.
Bloggers (and journalists) can always justify what they do on ground of healthy debate, public interest etc. On this issue I think you would have done better to have waited a week.

Perhaps Stephen perhaps - you may be right - but this is not an election period. During the difficult period last autumn I was very careful what I posted.

Much more interesting is the new line from Brown as retailed by the Today programme and BBC radio news this morning. Apparently Brown has "conceded" that the "fate of Mr Hain" is not in his, the Prime Minister's hands but in those of the Electoral Commission and the Parliamentary Commissioner. WHAT????!!! I thought that the Prime Minister was the man that hired and fired his ministers - he is not dithering (as Cameron has reportedly said) he's abdicated

Brown has thrown Hain to the wolves. Hes washing his hands of him. Clearly Brown knows that Hain is up to his neck in it and he doesnt want to go down with him by being forced to kick him down.

Tim and Sam: Do NOT give in to people who want you to start censoring.
If members of the shadow cabinet approach you with a story like this I want to hear it please.

The big difference here is that if I give money to the CCHQ (I dont, I give it to local parties) then I can see if I care to look that a proportion of it will go to George Osbourne.

If on the other hand I had given the money to the Hain front "Think Tank" I would have been giving it to a campaign to elect a man who's platform was at odds with the platform I thought I was funding. At the very least the organisers of that think tank would have been decieving me in order to raise funds.

The former is transparant, there is no hiding of the money trail. The latter is clear and deliberate obfuscation.

No great secret that members of the Shadow Cabinet have been 'wished money' by donors to CCHQ. Clearly an attempt by the Labour party to throw smoke over the Peter Hain scandal.

However it might be sensible if ALL donations to all of our MP's were declared by them, irrespective of whether the House of Commons rule book says that they must be.

'Perhaps he should also have made a declaration to Commons' authorities'

From the story which is linked it appears that Osborne did declare the income to the
Commons authorities and asked them whether it needed to be included on his register of members' interests and they told him it didn't. No case to answer.

Like Jennifer, I want to know what is going on - even if it is sometimes inconvenient. The biggest problems arise from hiding stuff.

At the same time, we should be reminding people that this story is about donors giving money TO THE PARTY because Osborne has been doing such a GOOD JOB.

Why do donors not mention these other shadow ministers specifically? Are they being prevented from making a similar impact?

Why is ConservativeHome doing Labour's dirty work for them and trying to create a mountain out of absolutely nothing at all. We have the BBC to do that.

Wise up Tim.

The most pressing question to come out of this whole Peter Hain business is that of why anyone needs to know who funded a campaign for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

I am sure that those who work for the Electoral Commission are delightful people personally. But that Commission itself is profoundly objectionable. In return for an annual fee (yes, a fee!), its approval is required for any political party’s name, logo, constitution (including aims and objectives), Leader, and sources of funding. If it just says no, then it just says no, you can’t have a party because we, an arm of central government, do not approve of it. What sort of country have we become?

And the financial requirement, at least, apparently also extends even to something like individual candidacies in a Deputy Leadership election. What next?

In any case, when it comes to things like this, why don’t political parties just give each duly nominated candidate a fixed sum for campaigning and then ban all other expenditure?

All these "transparency" rules achieve is to give the public the impression that when they are broken - which they will be, regularly, for they are intrinsically archane and impractical; every time you "clarify" one, another will become complicated to interpret - when they are broken, the public will feel vindicated in its impression that all politicians are corrupt.

There is another path. We should abolish virtually all of these restrictions on donations. The only things that should be declared are those that might potentially give rise to a conflict of interest. These rules do not increase public confidence in the propriety of politicians; they decrease it, markedly.

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