The Stench of New Labour's
New Labour is unable to resist doing things in an underhand way. The latest brilliant idea is to take funds from the taxpayer, illegally, to pay for running the party.
The Labour party brought in a system for paying fixed allowances to local councillors (instead of any repaying expenses incurred) in 1998. The pious intent of the scheme was to attract higher-calibre people to senior posts in councils.
At a meeting held on September 20th, 2006, the National Executive Committee decided to make it compulsory for Labour councillors to surrender to party funds, a portion of their allowances. The NEC includes Tony Blair, Gordon Brown (the man who stole your pension) and the party treasurer Jack Dromey.
The scam, which involves public money paid to local councillors being used to fund the Labour party, came to light in November 2006 when Councillor Bryan Sidaway, a former leader of Sunderland council, was threatened with disciplinary action if he refused to hand over 3% of his allowance.
Elsewhere, Westminster council's Labour group are demanding 10% of their members' allowances and Gateshead's Labourites have to cough up 6%. The scam has been referred to the Committee on Standards in Public Life and the police are being invited to include it in their investigation of the other Labour party fund-raising scams, which include cash for honours.
The leader of the Tory group on Sunderland council has also shopped Labour to the Standards Board for breaching the code of conduct, which specifies that councillors may not use taxpayer's cash to fund the activities of a registered political party.