Labour leadership contender Keir Starmer is under renewed pressure to release the full donor list for his campaign after releasing only partial records to the parliamentary register.
Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy have already released full details of their funding and published the lists directly onto their own campaign websites while Starmer has instead decided to wait on the register of members’ financial interests which was updated yesterday.
“I’ve been very clear and my opinion hasn’t in any way changed. Transparency within our party is of the utmost importance. MPs standing for leadership positions should see it as an obligation and not an impediment to publish a timely and clear detailed list of ALL donations from ALL sources. Let’s get on with this.”Ian Lavery MP, Skwawkbox
The total sum revealed by Starmer is £125,521, yet this is not the total received by his campaign as Members of Parliament are given 30 days between accepting the donation and having to declare it to the register. Nothing after February 3rd will have had to be declared in the latest update to the register. While this is a normal procedure, the fact that his rivals have elected for immediate and full transparency while Starmer seems content to wait for as long as possible, likely after the leadership election, has been marked as suspicious by many Labour members.
Jon Trickett, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, has become the latest voice adding to the calls for Starmer to reveal the sources of his funding, stating that there was a need to “end the secrecy” surrounding the campaign and pointing out how the register can be manipulated to delay revealing funding before an election.
“By only publishing donations via the register, candidates can self-finance in order to delay accepting donations, allowing them to publish these later on. You don’t have to officially accept a donation for 30 days and then you don’t have to declare it for another 28 days, so it can be 58 days until it’s declared on the register, which will be after the leadership election is over.”Jon Trickett, The Guardian
Stamer has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks following what has undoubtedly been an expensive campaign, a campaign that has including a mailshot to the entire Labour membership which will likely have cost more than the sum of the donations yet revealed.
Trickett says that it is “anti-democratic” for Starmer to continue to delay revealing details of his campaign’s finances.
“If we’re actually serious about financial transparency, political donations need to be published by campaigns themselves in real-time, rather than waiting for the register. Delaying publishing donations until people have voted is anti-democratic. Voters deserve to know what lies behind the candidates they are being asked to vote for, before they cast their vote, not afterwards.”Jon Trickett, The Guardian
Trickett’s comments follow those of other concerned voices from the left, including from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Speaking last week to the Islington Gazette, Corbyn stated that it was “very important to know where [donations] come from” and that “all of it should be published”.
“Yes. I think there always has to be openness in all respects, and when you receive financial support for a political campaign it’s very important to know where it comes from, all of it should be published. I published everything in my leadership campaigns. The number of high-level, big-ticket donors we had was very small, I leave that to others.”Jeremy Corbyn, The Islington Gazette
Voting in the ongoing Labour leadership contests will continue until April 2nd.