James Forsyth

Abrahams causes more damage to Labour

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David Abrahams has plunged the hierarchy of the Labour party further into crisis with an article in the Independent on Sunday describing how he donated to the party. Here’s the passage that is generating headlines this morning,

My political friends in the party's northern region were unaware of any donations whatsoever that I was making; only a very few officials and party figures in higher echelons of the national party structure were aware. Perhaps as a result I was received warmly at functions and was occasionally contacted to make further donations.

On 25 April of this year at a British Board of Deputies dinner in London at which Gordon Brown was the guest speaker, I was placed next to Jon Mendelsohn which, at the time, I felt was just a little more than coincidence. I then realised he was hoping to become Gordon Brown's fundraiser and he knew I was a strong supporter. He did not solicit funds from me at the dinner, however. I told him that I regularly donated to the party, and I described how it was done through intermediaries for the purposes of anonymity, to which he replied, "That sounds like a good idea." Jon Mendelsohn denies this claim, telling the Independent on Sunday that:

"This latest statement is fictional and completely untrue. I will be co-operating fully with the police in their investigation."

In these circumstances, Brown will be relieved that today’s ICM poll only shows an 11 point Tory lead. However, if this row drags on and on—as the personal nature of the spat between Abrahams and Mendelsohn suggests it will—the damage to Labour’s prospects will just grow and grow.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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