Friday, 11 January 2008

No Ifs, No Buts!


Peter Hain, the work and pensions secretary, failed to declare £103,000 in donations to his deputy leadership campaign. This is clearly a breach of electoral law and yet he is still in his job. Hain has issued an apology to his party and to the prime minister, but rejected the view he should resign from the government, saying he had made a mistake "inadvertently and not wilfully".

Interestingly and perhaps ironically his very own department is currently running a "No Ifs, No Buts" advertising campaign when it comes to benefit fraud.


Whether he broke the law or not, or was a willing party or completely innocent if he can't oversee the financing of his own campaign, can he really be trusted to look after a £100 billion social security budget?

This is Hain's latest statement on the fiasco
I today met the Electoral Commission and reported £103,156.75 of donations to my deputy leadership campaign that were not registered within the required timescale.

I provided full details to them and was very satisfied with the meeting.

All of the donations were from people entitled to legally donate to my campaign.

I understand that people will ask how I could have allowed this number of donations to go undeclared at the time.

The fact is that during this period, I gave my campaign for office within the Labour party second priority to my government responsibilities. I reasonably believed that the arrangements in place for my deputy leader campaign would be sufficient to ensure compliance with reporting requirements, but as it transpired, due to administrative failings this was not the case after early May.

It became necessary to continue fundraising after the campaign ended as a result of unpaid invoices coming to light during the summer and autumn.

Immediately I became aware on November 29 2007 that these donations had not been declared within the required timescale; I took steps to inform the Electoral Commission, issued a public statement and subsequently asked to see the Commission on December 3.

At that time I confirmed my intention to provide a full report as soon as I was satisfied it was complete. I have subsequently kept in touch with the Electoral Commission on progress.

I very much regret that these reports were not made on time. I should have given higher personal priority to the day-to-day administration and organisation of my campaign.

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