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Scotland: Labour Party leader accept 950-pound illegal contribution

The Economist reports: FOR Gordon Brown, the party-funding scandal which has already claimed the job of the Labour Party's general secretary, Peter Watt, and threatens senior figures in the government shows no sign of going away. It has instead spread north to his native Scotland, where Wendy Alexander, Labour's leader in the devolved Parliament, is fighting to save her career.

The sum involved in Ms Alexander's case (950, or $1,960) is comically small next to the more than 660,000 given to the Labour Party by David Abrahams, a Newcastle businessman, through intermediaries. Yet Ms Alexander, seen but recently as the Scottish Labour Party's shining hope, boobed tremendously. To finance her leadership campaign (which, since she was the only candidate, was not a costly affair) she raised 16,000, including 950 from Paul Green. A property developer who lives in the Channel Islands, Mr Green cannot vote in British elections, so accepting his cash was against the law.

Ms Alexander maintains that she was led to believe the money came from a Glasgow company controlled by Mr Green. But the company denies any knowledge of the donation. Mr Green insists it was a personal contribution, even brandishing a letter of thanks from Ms Alexander sent to his Jersey home. One head has already rolled: Charlie Gordon, a Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) from Glasgow, who solicited Mr Green's donation, has resigned as the party's transport spokesman. But this has failed to pacify those such as Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of Westminster's Committee on Standards in Public Life, who believe that Ms Alexander should consider her position, too. -- Political donations | Not so darling Wendy | Economist.com

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