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Friday, January 11, 2008


Tempting as it is to rush to judgement and demand Peter Hain's resignation over the sheer scale of his error regarding £103,156 of undeclared donations, one has to admit that Labour MP, Paul Flynn was right in counselling caution on Radio Wales this morning.

Mr. Flynn said that it is up to the Electoral Commission to determine the scale of the offence and what punishment is appropriate and that we should not seek to prejudge that. There may well be sanctions available to the House of Commons authorities as well not to mention the damage to Mr. Hain's reputation as a result of his poor judgement. Criticism questioning his ability to manage two government departments when he cannot keep his own Deputy Leadership campaign in order is valid and will hurt him.

It is also the case that for time being the politics of the situation are in Hain's favour. Gordon Brown will not want to see him resign or to sack him for fear of starting a landslide of such departures amongst other senior Labour politicians who are having similar problems. I may be wrong but I believe that the day of reckoning will come in the next reshuffle rather than in the next few weeks.

N.B. As I was in a rush this morning and inadvertently pressed publish on a half-finished entry then it should be noted that this post has been updated
I've also blogged about this at http://thesoundofgunfire.blogspot.com but I came to a different conclusion - that Hain's sheer incompetence in running his own campaign means that he is not a suitable person to be running a department as complex as Work and Pensions. He should go and go now.
The BBC have been reporting that while failing to declare donations is illegal, the Electoral Commission don't have any sanctions available to them for this particular infringement. They've also been reporting that failure to enter the donations on the Register of Members' Interests is an infraction of House of Commons rules, and there are sanctions available to the House.
Interesting to see Mr. Hain took £15000 from Isaac Kaye a former supporter of the pro apartheid National party in South Africa. Mr. Kaye's former drugs company is due to stand trial this year for conspiracy to defraud the NHS. In 2006 it reach an out of court settlement worth millions with the government on overpayment for drugs. This is in all the London papers including the Evening Standard
Come on soft lad he needs to go. Failure to declare is far more serious than receiving from impermissable donors and he failed to declare 17 donations totalling 6 figures. He had reporting obligations and failed - that's all you need to know. Hain might not resign, but if Brown fails to take action he's in the mire too.
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