All hail, the amazing Baroness Jay

Let us give credit where credit is due. Baroness Jay, Labour member of the House of Lords and daughter of former Labour PM Jim Callaghan, appears to be remarkably sharp.

Until earlier today, everyone in the Labour party was categorising themselves into one of two groups:

(a) The “we didn’t know anything about the David Abrahams” group, and
(b) The “we knew about David Abrahams but didn’t think there was anything wrong with his approach to donations” group.

Step forward then, Baroness Jay. She tipped off the Hilary Benn for Deputy Leader campaign that the £5,000 it was being offered in the name of Janet Kidd was really from David Abrahams, and as a result his campaign rejected the donation. (Source: PA, and many other reports)

She therefore appears to be in the unique position of saying (a) she knew about David Abrahams’ approach to donations and (b) knew there was something wrong with it. Congratulations, Baroness.

Congratulations too to Sky journalist Joey Jones for getting to speak to Baroness Jay about what happened. You can read his interesting account over on the Sky News blog.

It does all leave one odd inconsistency though. According to Baroness Jay, David Abrahams approached her about donating “discretely” (i.e. via Janet Kidd). Yet according to Gordon Brown in his press conference today, it was Janet Kidd who approached his leadership campaign to donate funds (and was rejected, even though at the time she was on record as being a major Labour donor). Why would David Abrahams have approached the Harriet Harman campaign personally but the Gordon Brown campaign via an intermediary? Life is sometimes messy and inconsistent; or is there more to come out on this?

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5 Comments

  • Derrick Chester 28th Nov '07 - 6:10am

    This whole thing is getting out of hand and the Government response totally out of proportion. If somebody gives a substantial amount of money directly to a Party and it is found that at some point in time that a decision was made which favoured the business they run, or they become a Peer, or they have done something wrong in law then they are accused of corruption. If they do not want to be identified and donate through other people (who admittedly should have been asked first) then they break the law. We are making it virtually impossible for political parties to be funded through donation in this country and the only route left is state funding. This removes the individual from the process accusations of wrongdoing. However Brown does not have the balls to go for this. It is not the very, very minor crime committed here which I find objectionable. It is the way the Government are going well over the top in reaction to this minor crime and jumping around to everyone elses tune. Weak, weak, weak.

  • Letters From A Tory 28th Nov '07 - 8:01am

    Well done Mr Pack – another interesting piece of a very disturbing puzzle.

  • any comments from the London hustings?

  • Did anyone hear Mr Abrams intervied on Newsnight last night? He said he had supported Hilary Benn for the leadership and put a cheque in his hand. He insisted he had supported Benn for the leadership with the implication, that Paxman explored, that he had not supported Harriet Harman. What’s going on there – epecially as the money was given after the campaign ended.

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