John McDonnell suggests Tom Watson should hand back Max Mosley cash

Posted On: 
4th March 2018

John McDonnell has suggested Tom Watson should hand back half a million pounds in donations from controversial campaigner Max Mosley.

Labour has said it will accept no more donations from Max Mosley
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor said Mr Watson should “consider” his relationship with the privacy activist “and the finances as well” after Mr Mosley said it was fine to pay immigrants to "go home".

It comes after Mr Mosley was engulfed in a storm over a racist leaflet.

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A 1961 pamphlet apparently published by Mr Mosley and claiming “coloured immigration threatens your children's health” was unearthed last week.

It appears to contradict evidence the ex-Formula 1 boss gave to a High Court trial in 2008 that he had no knowledge of it - although Mr Mosley says he does not remember the leaflet and insists he is not racist.

Labour last week said it would no longer accept donations from the tycoon after he gave some £500,000 to Mr Watson to help in his fight against the tabloid press.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has said Mr Watson should be “thinking very hard” about handing the cash back - but the Labour deputy leader gave no hint that he would return it.

He said simply that he would not have taken it in the first place if he had “thought for one moment that he [Mr Mosley] held the views contained in that leaflet of 57 years ago”.

But today Mr McDonnell took a different tack after it was put to him that Mr Mosley said he would support paying immigrants to leave the country.

“If those are the same views now well Tom will really need to consider seriously exactly that relationship with Max Mosley and the finances as well,” he told Sky News show Sunday With Niall Paterson.

“Because if he is reiterating these views from the past he really hasn’t changed.”

Mr Mosley told the Guardian this week he thought it was “perfectly legitimate to offer immigrants financial inducements to go home”.

In the Commons this week Mr Watson said: “If I had thought for one moment that he held the views contained in that leaflet of 57 years ago, I would not have given him the time of day.

“He is, however, a man who, in the face of great family tragedy and overwhelming media intimidation, chose to use his limited resources to support the weak against the strong.”

A Labour spokesman said during the week: “We’ve shifted away from payments and contributions from large wealthy donors.

“We have wanted to keep quite a strong system of control on that and in the case of the Max Mosely payments they have come to an end and they won’t be restarted.”