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Rebecca Long-Bailey ups pressure on Keir Starmer over donors as she unveils plan to tackle 'corporate money'

Rebecca Long-Bailey ups pressure on Keir Starmer over donors as she unveils plan to tackle 'corporate money'
3 min read

Rebecca Long-Bailey has unveiled a new plan to stop the "corrupting influence of corporate money in politics" as she continued to press Sir Keir Starmer to reveal who is backing his campaign.

The Labour leadership contender and Shadow Business Secretary, who revealed her own bid's funding sources last week, has unveiled a six-point plan that she said would stop "vested interests" from "buying policy".

The move comes after her campaign urged rival Sir Keir, currently the bookies' favourite to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, to publish a full list of those who have donated to his push to become leader.

Sir Keir, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, has been under pressure to shed light on his campaign's finances since Ms Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy both published all the donations they have received above £1,500.

The six-point plan unveiled by Ms Long-Bailey says all large political donations that have been accepted by political parties should be published without "delay" , "so the public is able to find out instantly about potential conflicts of interest or outside influences, including during an election campaign".

It also promises to ban all political donations "from tax avoiders and tax evaders", close down shell companies that can be used to "funnel dark money into politics"; and scrap the Lobbying Act to bring in a new lobbing register that would also cover in-house lobbyists and think tanks.

MPs would also be banned from taking on second paid jobs under Ms Long-Bailey's plan, with exceptions "for those working to keep a professional qualification such as nursing".

And the Labour leadership hopeful is promising to end the "revolving door" between business and Whitehall by scrapping the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and bringing in a new watchdog that would ban former ministers from lobbying government "for a minimum of five years after leaving office".

The list of pledges comes after Jeremy Corbyn, who has not explicitly endorsed a candidate in the Labour leadership race, urged Sir Keir to publish a full list of his donors.

He told the Islington Gazette: "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.

"I published everything in my leadership campaigns. The number of high-level, big ticket donors we had was very small, I leave that to others."

But a senior Labour source told PoliticsHome: "When Tony Blair made interventions in the 2015 leadership election, Jeremy Corbyn and his outriders were very clear that it wasn’t appropriate.

"He would do well to remember that he has just led Labour to our worst result in nearly a century after a decade of Tory austerity."

Asked on ITV's Peston show on Wednesday who was funding his campaign, Sir Keir said: "There are very strict rules. The Electoral Commission and the Parliamentary rules require you to register all your funding and then to publish it and that's what we've been doing.

"My first tranche went up on the Parliamentary website a few weeks ago. The next tranche, we've given it to the Parliamentary authorities ... they're checking it's all in order and it's going up as soon as they give it the green light."

Mr Corbyn's successor will be unveiled at a special conference on 4 April.

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