Ibrahim Taguri steps down as Lib Dem candidate in Brent Central after Telegraph donation claims

Ibrahim Taguri has stepped down as the Liberal Democrat candidate in Brent Central after the Telegraph made allegations that he had accepted a donation that was potentially outside the rules.

Ibrahim will continue to fight the seat as an independent candidate and denies any wrongdoing.

From the BBC:

Mr Taguri had been selected to stand for the Lib Dems to replace departing MP Sarah Teather in the London constituency of Brent Central.

But in a statement, he said he would step down as a parliamentary candidate and from his Lib Dem race equality role while the claims against him were investigated.

“I will continue my campaign to become the next MP for Brent Central as an independent candidate with the intention of achieving the one thing I entered politics to do, to end child poverty in the UK by 2020,” he said.

“I look forward to clearing my name and returning to the Liberal Democrats.”

He said he was “happy to co-operate with any investigation” and “confident that I will be exonerated of all the claims made against me”.

“I am capable of demonstrating that I have gone above and beyond the legal requirements in the interests of transparency,” he added.

The party has referred itself to the Electoral Commission to determine whether it has done anything wrong:

The Lib Dems said the party had “not accepted any improper or illegal donations”.

The cheque from the undercover reporter had arrived at the campaign office in Brent but had not been handed to the party or banked, the party said.

A spokeswoman said the donation “would have been subject to a series of checks and procedures to ensure it met all legal requirements” if it had been received.

“We firmly reject any suggestion that Danny Alexander or any other Liberal Democrat parliamentarian has acted in any way improperly,” she said.

“Ibrahim Taguri has rightly stood down as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Brent Central and from any formal role within the party.

“We have now referred this matter to the Electoral Commission to determine whether any wrongdoing has been committed.

We have looked at the evidence uncovered by the Telegraph which seems mainly to be a series of out of context quotes and video clips. The paper is certainly giving it a massive amount of space. We shall leave it for you to judge whether a story about a donation that was never accepted by the party is worth its own “live update” page.

The conclusions the same paper drew during the MP’s expenses scandal were at times not supported by the facts. We would advise caution before jumping to any conclusions in this matter.

As this matter is under investigation, all comments will be pre-moderated.

 

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12 Comments

  • From the BBC News website —

    Mr Taguri said he would step down as a parliamentary candidate and from his Lib Dem race equality role while the claims against him were investigated.

    “I will continue my campaign to become the next MP for Brent Central as an independent candidate with the intention of achieving the one thing I entered politics to do, to end child poverty in the UK by 2020,” he said.

    According to the BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith, the Lib Dems expect to put up a candidate to stand against Mr Taguri.


    Lib Dems expect to put up a candidate to stand against Mr Taguri.

    My immediate reaction — just so long as it is not Jeremy Clarkson !

  • Dawn Butler must be a shoe-in after this.
    If, as reported, Taguri intends to stand as an Independent [if exonerated] then the Liberal vote in a tight marginal will be split.

  • Paul in Wokingham 12th Mar '15 - 8:55am

    Do you remember the massive front page banner headlines in The Torygraph in 2010 about donations to Nick Clegg’s office? The story revolved around payments of (IIRC) £250 per month made by each of a small group of donors to fund a researcher in Clegg’s office, or some such perfectly innocuous activity. Yet the article was pitched so as to impute the worst possible interpretation of the facts. It would be interesting to see the resulting story if The Getalarph was to apply the same interpretation of the facts to an investigation into their reporting of the HSBC scandal.

    I expect a large amount of this type of splatter gun journalism over the next two months.

  • Jayne Mansfield 12th Mar '15 - 8:57am

    It is a pity that this has taken place just before an election giving Ibrahim little time to clear his name, and should he do so, stand as a Liberal Democrat.

    The allegations, now made, must of course, be fully investigated in the most appropriate way.

  • Tam Langley 12th Mar '15 - 9:07am

    As Paddy said on the Today Programme this morning, Ibrahim has serious questions to answer about his reported comments in the Telegraph. However, for the Telegraph to launch this undercover sting so close to the General Election is a reminder of the unfair balance of power between the media and parliamentary candidates. There is scant time now for a proper Electoral Commission investigation before the start of the campaign, which means the party could be shoe-horned into adopting a new candidate before the outcome is known, with an inevitable impact on our vote in Brent.
    Their sting operation comes hot on the heels of the resignation of respected former Telegraph Chief Political Commentator Peter Oborne, following his concerns that HSBC’s advertising contract were impacting on the paper’s editorial decisions https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/peter-oborne/why-i-have-resigned-from-telegraph
    Is this just a coincidence, or part of the paper’s strategy to win back credibility and turn the spotlight elsewhere?
    Either way, if the Electoral Commission investigation is not complete in time for the public to know the truth of the story, it will be the people of Brent, as well as our party, that loses out.

  • The coverage seems fairly patchy and much of it based on insinuation*, but if there is credible evidence that Ibrahim Taguri broke the rules then we take appropriate steps whilst staying true to the Liberal principle of someone being innocent before guilty.

    *That Danny would ask donors to dig deeper is not exactly Watergate.

  • I’m actually quite curious about the cheque itself. The Telegraph have a picture of it on their website, but they have blurred out the signature and name of the person on the cheque. What’s visible of the signature, though, doesn’t seem to be the shape or size of any of the reporters’ names on the by-line.

    So either the investigative reporter involved in the sting has used one of their own cheques – which to me would mean you’d be pretty confident that it would never be cashed – or they have set up an account in a fake name to do this. If it’s the second, then that’s a concern for Barclays (the bank on the cheque) as somehow the Telegraph would have been able to avoid the various money laundering checks that banks require new accounts to go through.

  • ATF

    If you have read the acres of newsprint that The Torygraph has devoted to this story you will know that this is the least damaging thing that Danny is “reported” to have said.

    I believe in innocent until proven guilty. The problem with Danny is not what he has done but the fact that he is clearly out of his depth.

    Like Paul in Wokingham I guess that there is going to be a lot more of this sort of stuff hitting the fan over the next 8 weeks.
    People who have been keen on cosying up to the Tories might find that their ‘new best friends’ are not that friendly after all.
    Lynton Crosby has form on this – as anyone with a cursory knowledge of Australian politics will know.

  • David Allen 12th Mar '15 - 4:33pm

    “for the Telegraph to launch this undercover sting so close to the General Election is a reminder of the unfair balance of power between the media and parliamentary candidates.”

    No, I don’t think so. The Telegraph is not my favourite paper, but it also stung Rifkind and Straw, so it is being pretty even-handed. Whether its presentation of the outcome of this particular sting was fair and accurate is, of course, an entirely different question. But leaving that aside, I draw the opposite conclusion. In many ways the Press as a whole has behaved appallingly over the past few years, but its investigative journalism – such as the Telegraph’s exposures on MPs’ expenses, and the Guardian’s revelations from Snowden – is its greatest strength.

  • Julian Tisi 12th Mar '15 - 4:41pm

    “It is a pity that this has taken place just before an election giving Ibrahim little time to clear his name”
    Which is clearly why the Torygraph have decided to do this now. They have considerable form in this – and it’s always directed at the LibDems.

  • @Julian Tisi

    Jack Straw & Malcolm Rifkind are Lib Dems ?

  • Surely standing as an independent against an LD candidate is disloyalty that precludes any return to the party, even if he’s exonerated.

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