Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Simply not believable

As I listened to Newsnight last night, I posted that the circumstances surrounding the donations given by David Abrahams to the Labour Party via third parties being outlined by the party spokesman was not believable. And the explanation has duly fallen apart today. Probing has revealed that Hilary Benn turned down the offer of a donation from Mr Abrahams because he knew the terms on which it was being given. Mr Benn turned down the donation because Baroness Jay had told him about the terms of it - so she knew as well. So that's two senior figures in Labour who knew, apart from the now departed General Secretary of the Party.

And then we come to the case of Harriet Harmam, Labour's Deputy Leader. We are told (by her) that she took £5000 from Mr Abrahams through a third party at a somewhat strange time for her to have done so. We are also told that she has or intends to return it. And then on Newsnight tonight, a clearly irritated David Abrahams broke cover. Firstly, he told us that he had given money to Labour via third parties because he "wanted to give it privately without any fuss and bother" - which I found ironically amusing. But then things turned even more bizarre. David Abrahams told Jeremy Paxman that he had supported Hilary Benn (by personally handing him a cheque which seems to be at varience with what we have been told) - leaving us all with the impression that he had not donated to Harriet Harman at all!! It is starting to look as if someone is telling some very smelly porkies.

I think that I need to go and lie down in a dark room. This story is so complex and simply not believable. I also suspect that Gordon Brown knows that its not believable, and that Harriet Harman is in danger of being forced to resign - which is why it took eight separate attempts to extract any sort of support for her at the Prime Minsiter's press conference earlier today. There are a few more stones to be turned yet. I would rather own shares in Northern Rock than in Harriet Harman. This has the potential to become a big big scandal.


Anonymous said...

As an ex councillor with planning experience you would be very interesting in reading the planning officer's report which led to the granting of planning approval for the business park.It's on the Durham City website. A great deal has been made of the fact that the council is now controlled by the Lib Dems. But in over ruling the very serious objections of the county council the planning officer cited the fact that the site was in the local plan . The press should be asking how a green field site containing a farm came to be put in the local plan.I wonder who controlled the council then?

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments on Stephen Pollard's Spectator blog re David Abrahams connection with the Fabian Society in the early 1990s. If you had listened closely to the Newsnight interview you would have heard Abrahman's claim that he was a member of Labour's Northern Executive Committee. If this is true then he would be well known to all leading Labour politicians in the North particularly Gordon Brown's supporters such as Nick Brown the Newcastle MP. This was probably the reason why he was invited to Blair's farewell bash evn though he is not a member of the Sedgefield constituency .This story has a long way to go yet. Just wait until the Sunday heavyweights have been on the case.

Glyn Davies said...

anons - some good points. So much of this does not ring true. I too had read Stephen Pollard's Spectator blog post. This David Abrahams was well known in the upper echelons of the Labour Party. It just stretches credibility to accept this tale that no-one knew him.

I do know something of the planning process, having been Chair of a Local Planning Authority for almost 7 years. It could be that the local plan preparation was the key decision - but I would have to know a lot more about it.

We're all agreed that there is more of this to come yet.