Sat, 2 December 2023

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Labour chair Ian Lavery piles pressure on Keir Starmer to reveal who is funding leadership campaign

2 min read

Labour chairman Ian Lavery has piled pressure on Keir Starmer to reveal a ful list of who is bankrolling his campaign to be party leader.

The leading Rebecca Long-Bailey supporter said he had been "inundated" with emails from members "demanding transpareecy within our party".

He also said he was seeking a meeting with Jennie Formby, Labour's general secretary, on the matter.

Ms Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy, the other candidate in the contest, have both published a list of every donation they have received above £1,500.

Sir Keir's team insist they have abided by the leadership rules by submitting all of their donations to the parliamentary authorities, and it is up to them to publish them.

But Mr Lavery said: "I’ve been inundated with emails from members demanding transparency within our party.

"As chair of the party I’m steadfastly on record regarding the absolute need for total transparency within our party, and that certainly includes the need for members seeking high office to disclose their financial donations.

"Candidates for the leadership should do so as soon as possible, so this information is available to those voting in the leadership contest.

"With this urgency in mind I’ll be seeking a meeting with Jennie Formby to discuss the available options."

It is understood that more than 600 Labour members have emailed Mr Lavery, using an online form published by the left-wing websote Evolve Politics.

The Labour chair is just the latest senior party figure to call on Sir Keir to publish his list of backers.

Last month, Jeremy Corbyn said: "I think there always has to be openness in all respects, and when you receive financial support for a political campaign it's very important to know where it comes from, all of it should be published."

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett, who is backing Ms Long-Bailey, said: "We need to put an end to the secrecy surrounding political donations, which means political donations being declared in real time."

And Unite boss Len McCluskey, whose union has donated more than £200,000 to Ms Long-Bailey's campaign, said: "Trust in politics and politicians is essential, which is why it is really important that all the leadership candidates declare where their campaign money comes from.

"In the Labour Party there should be no secret financiers sitting in the shadows."

Sir Keir's team has been approached for comment.

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