Lib Dem donor Brompton Capital given all clear by the Electoral Commission

rumi verjeeA month ago, the Sunday Telegraph splashed on allegations by Labour MP Michael Dugher demanding the Electoral Commission investigate donations to the Lib Dems from Rumi Verjee via Brompton Capital Limited.

Well, the Electoral Commission has now investigated — and it’s given the donations the all-clear, and ruled out pursuing the matter any further:

“We have carefully considered whether there is sufficient reason to believe that a breach of PPERA may have taken place, and whether the matter warrants referral for a case review or investigation. Having done so, we do not consider it is appropriate for the Commission to pursue this matter further.”

Rumi Verjee, chairman of Brompton Capital, said.

“I am delighted with the Electoral Commission’s finding, which is as expected. I have been a UK taxpayer, doing business in the UK, for nearly 30 years and have been fortunate enough to have some success. That is why I am committed to giving something back to society. I see my donations to the Lib Dem leadership programme as a vital part of that philanthropic activity, which also includes working with the Clinton Foundation in Africa.”

The Lib Dem leadership programme is a key part of the party’s drive to increase the diversity of parliamentary candidates:

The Candidate Leadership Programme is designed specifically to identify, develop and support some of the best candidates from under-represented groups within the Party. The Programme contains 40 talented, motivated individuals who can demonstrate the combination of passion, drive and commitment that it takes to win a Parliamentary seat in the next General Election.

Update (24 Feb 2013): The Telegraph has updated its original story with the following clarification:

Rumi Verjee, the entrepreneur accused of making “hidden donations” to the Liberal Democrats through one of his companies, has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Electoral Commission. The party watchdog received a complaint from a Labour MP last year, but Mr Verjee’s £775,000 of gifts to the Lib Dems were found to comply with the law.

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  • Thank you Rumi Verjee. We cannot expect the Sunday Telegraph to ‘splash’ this result. That would be breaking the habits of a lifetime.

  • Rabi Martins 28th Jan '13 - 11:40am

    It is a great relief that Rumi’s link to the Party is in no way tainted He is a valuable patron of the Party
    His support for the Leadership Programme (financial and personal) will hopefully lead to there being at least one Black or Asian Liberal Democrats MP being elected in 2015
    That of course will only happen if the talented committed BME participants in the leadership group are given the coaching and support they need to get through the Constituency selection process
    On the feedback I have had from seats that have selected so far I am not confident this will happen

  • Paul Holmes 28th Jan '13 - 2:21pm

    I met some of the Leadership Programme Candidates for the first time this weekend but otherwise know nothing about them. We have just selected an excellent female candidate in Chesterfield -shortlisted against 3 men in a seat which some people complained when I was selected in 1999 was a ‘misogynist, northern, working class constituency that would never select a woman’.

    Why was Julia Cambridge successful? Because she was a Leadership Programme candidate? No none of those applied for the seat. Because we had zipping or all female shortlists? No -because, thankfully, we don’t do that for Westminster elections.

    Julia won because she was the best candidate. She put in the most work calling on members and distributed the most; the most varied and the best literature (including electronic). Now all this was against 2 opponents in particular who also worked hard and had a head start in the sense of being experienced Cllrs (both Group Leaders) and being experienced PPC’s from 2010 and before . Another key difference that gave Julia an edge before the seat was even advertised was that, having established (from other people although I had certainly made no secret of it since 2010), that I was not standing again, she put in a lot of work campaigning alongside our Cllrs and activists throughout 2012 and so come the selection contest in Dec/Jan was not an unknown outsider with no proven track record.

    I think some though not all of these comments may chime with Rabi’s point about how potential candidates are advised and prepared (or prepare themselves) before applying for a seat. I have often been surprised over the years about how unprepared and/or unrealistic some candidates are with respect to what is involved.

    I did help and advise some candidates when I was an MP. Since 2010 I have offered to be a mentor via the Gender Balance Group but not been taken up on my offer. Perhaps because I’m a northern male and not deemed suitable?

  • “Since 2010 I have offered to be a mentor via the Gender Balance Group but not been taken up on my offer. Perhaps because I’m a northern male and not deemed suitable?”

    Have they given a reason, it could well just be disorganisation.

  • The best two female candidates I met this weekend at the same meeting Paul Holmes attended were not in the leadership programme. One had even been dismissed by it. She will beat any leadership programme candidate who challenges her.

    Do the Lib Dems’ self-selecting elite have the awareness to know who will genuinely ‘break the mould’?

  • ‘Voice’

    Please could you supply links for the source of the information in this article – or else indicate where it came from?

  • Apparently not.

    I’m assuming this comes from a direct communication from the Electoral Commission to Rumi Verjee and/or the party, as there seems to be no press release and no coverage of the decision elsewhere.

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