That Michael Brown donation. Again. (Yawn).

Michael Brown – as Lib Dem Voice readers won’t need reminding – gave the party £2.4m before the 2005 general election. His subsequent downfall amid fraud allegations has prompted many an innuendo that the Lib Dems were somehow dishonest in accepting the gift.

The news today that a date has been set (8th September) for Mr Brown’s trial on 16 separate charges is bound to attract the usual Labour and Tory smears, and media half-truths. So, for the nth time, can we take the opportunity to quote the verdict of the independent Electoral Commission on the Lib Dems’ probity in this matter:

The Electoral Commission has previously made clear its view that it was reasonable for the Liberal Democrats – based on the information available to them at the time – to regard the donations they received from 5th Avenue Partners Ltd in 2005, totalling just over £2.4m, as permissible.

“It remains the Commission’s view that the Liberal Democrats acted in good faith at that time, and the Commission is not re-opening the question of whether the party or its officers failed to carry out sufficient checks into the permissibility of the donations.”

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  • When the Labour Party accepted money from Robert Maxwell they knew not only that he was a crook but that he was a thoroughly nasty piece of work all round.

    The sound of stones hitting glass, anyone?

  • passing tory 6th Jun '08 - 8:59am

    GP:”state funding of political parties”; please, no. This would just foster a self-interested political class and weaken the link between grassroots support and the representatives.

  • If it transpires this money was illegally acquired by Michael Brown and the owners can be clearly identified is it not morally incumbent on the Liberal Democrats to return it?

  • Questioner:It has transpired that the money was illegally acquired by Asil Nadir of Polly Peck, the owners can be clearly identified, is it not morally incumbent on the Conservatives to return it?

  • David, if the Conservatives behaviour is the benchmark for the Liberal Democrats to use as a defence then it doesn’t say much for being a fresh alternative.

    No one is seriously saying that the Liberal Democrats were in on a scam. That is clear from the EC statement.

    However if it transpires the money was not Michael Brown’s to donate and belongs to others then the moral question of whether the Liberal Democrats should repay it emerges.

    How seriously will the LibDems be taken if they constantly deny that they have benefitted money that was not theirs? People will accept a decalaration that they were as taken in as everyone else and that they may not have the funds to repay it. But they won’t take seriously a defence that denies it was money from an illegal source.

    There are still legal proceedings to establish this and it doesn’t do the Liberal Democrats credibility any favours to suggest it is in the past.

  • Kevin: Lloyd Geogre, sold the peerages when he was PM of coalition of Tories with a faction of the Liberal Party.
    Name: Hi to you

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