Straw in trouble for donations

Mr Straw could find himself in trouble over the donation
Mr Straw could find himself in trouble over the donation

By politics.co.uk staff

Tory MP Ben Wallace has accused Jack Straw of receiving illegitimate donations for his constituency office.

The Lancaster and Wyre MP said Mr Straw's office had received a £2,000 donation from a firm called Westminster International Consultants (WIC), which, according to Mr Wallace, does not do any business in the UK.

"It is my allegation that this company's accounts and behaviour demonstrated that it was not a permissible donor under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000," Mr Wallace wrote to the Electoral Commission.


Earlier this month, Mr Straw, justice secretary, was forced to register a donation from Canatxx which helped fund his 25th anniversary dinner as an MP in 2004.

Mr Straw apologised for its lateness to the Electoral Commission, which is now being asked to investigate the WIC case.

Mr Straw's listing of the donation in the MPs' register of interests states the gift came from "Mr Siraj Karbhari, Westminster International Consultants" but the founding partner at the firm, Dr Yusef Karbhari, denied it had made a gift and said his brother, Siraj, made the donation in a personal capacity.

Speaking to the Evening Standard from Saudi Arabia, where WIC acts as a property developer, Siraj Karbhari said: "I am UK citizen and this was not a foreign donation.

"I made a cheque from one of my companies. I can't recollect which chequebook I used. If they have listed a donation from Westminster, that is a mistake."

The news comes on the same day that Tory MP Derek Conway was rapped by the parliamentary standards committee for paying his son above the normal level for office work.

Update

Mr Straw was subsequently cleared by the Electoral Commission's investigation.

"The details of the donor were originally reported in error," a spokesman told politics.co.uk, explaining that the register had been amended to show the name of an individual associated with Westminster International Consultants rather than the company.

"No further action is going to be taken," the spokesman added. The investigation was completed in May 2009.

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