Beckett defends `blind trust'

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The Independent Online
Margaret Beckett yesterday said she would keep a "blind trust" unless Sir Patrick Neill, the watchdog on standards, ruled against the practice in his review on party funding.

The President of the Board of Trade defended the trust, which helps fund her constituency office, and rejected a call by her Conservative shadow, John Redwood, to follow the example of Cabinet colleagues to wind it up. Mr Redwood also called on Mrs Beckett to publish the names of her donors to the trust.

Mr Redwood was calling on her to wind the trust up "though it is clearly absolutely a very proper [arrangement]", she said on BBC Radio yesterday. Yet it was the same structure he had urged trade minister and former BP chairman Lord Simon to set up this summer to deal with his controversial shareholdings, she added.