…I think we might actually have evidence that someone, somewhere, in the Labour Party actually has a brain. I know, hard to believe, but here\’s the story.
As Guido points out, the Abrahams donations were not permissible. They\’ve also not been declared for 30 days. Thus, under the rules brought in by
the current bunch of dickheads Our Lords and Masters this money is not to be paid back to the donor. Rather, it is to be forfeit to the Treasury.
If Labour has already (as they have said they have) paid the money back to Abrahams then they\’ll have to either get him to send it to the Treasury of they\’ll need to find another £660,000 or so to hand over themselves.
And as they\’ve almost certainly already spent it (and they\’re £20 million in debt) you can see that this might be sort of a brown kecks type of time for them.
Then we have this piece by David Hencke this morning (flagged up by Iain). So what are we to make of that story? (I should point out that the only time I\’ve met David I came away with the impression that he\’s a thoroughly good bloke so I\’m not suggesting that he\’s in on the machinations I\’m about to suggest).
Note the following bits:
The arrangement, which was set up four years ago, was regarded as a "loophole" that allowed Abrahams to lawfully pay the money and remain unidentified.
It is understood that Labour officials were well aware that the arrangement exploited what they believed was a loophole in Labour\’s recently passed legislation, the 2000 Political Parties Act, so as not to reveal Abrahams\’ identity.
In the words of a Labour insider, the two officials were then "given the job of shepherding the cash", aware that the arrangement was technically legal, even though it went against the spirit of the legislation which is to ensure transparency for all donations to political parties.
He does go on to say that the Electoral Commission may well attempt to seize the cash: but what if the above is actually all true? "Lawfully", "loophole", "technically legal". In this case there is no right for the EC to do such a thing. They may have written the law badly, they may have crept around it, but if what they did is strictly legal then there\’s no way anyone can touch the money.
So is that going to be the defense? And if so, do we now have to infer that at least one person within the Labour Party actually has some brains? "We obeyed the law" is a pretty good legal defense, isn\’t it?