Pandora: Abrahams returns to the Labour fold
Thursday 01 October 2009
Good news at last for Gordon Brown. David Abrahams, the mega-bucks property developer and (very) generous party donor has, it seems, returned to the fold.
Abrahams found himself experiencing a spell in the cold after he became the focus of Labour's notorious 2007 "donorgate" scandal.
At the time, a police investigation was called and several senior heads were forced to roll when it was disclosed that the businessman had given more than £650,000 using associates' names.
"That's all history now," Abrahams, who was seen attending the party's official conference dinner on Tuesday night, tells us.
"I've always done campaigning – there are a lot of issues to be campaigned for, and a lot of good causes. I've been involved with the Labour Party, doing electioneering and so on, since before I could reach a letterbox. It's in my blood: it always has been and always will be. I've never stopped being a member."
Naturally, the news will thrill perspiring party treasurers, currently contemplating the unappetising prospect of funding an election from their ever-shrinking coffers.
Abrahams, however, is refusing to commit – publicly, at least – to any cash injections just yet. "I'm not some financial whizz kid," he explains. "I don't know anything about finances. I don't want to distract everyone with talk of that now. What I did wasn't illegal at the time, and it's still not. But I'm tribal Labour, and I want to help in whatever way I can."
Garrett pleases the diners in Brighton
While conference-bound young Tories prepare to 'ave it large to the warblings of obscure early-Nineties club diva Angie Brown ("Yo DJ pump this party"), it seems Labour can, at least, still pull in the stars. We're told that guests at Tuesday's conference dinner were serenaded by Lesley Garrett and then kept laughing past the early editions by Jo Brand. Well, it beats Simply Red.
Conway fails to pull an audience
A golden opportunity, now, for those still begrudging the thousands paid to Tory MP Derek Conway and his "parliamentary researcher" sons. The Iranian channel PressTV is finding it so difficult to get a studio audience for his chat show that it is offering £10 to anyone willing to fill an empty chair. If no one is persuaded, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner might want to pop along. According to the Register of Members' Interests, Conway ceased working with the channel in May.
Being Miss Bailey
Could another change of career be on the cards for Laura Bailey?
The willowy model and one-time squeeze of Richard Gere, who has already proved her hand at writing and acting, spent Tuesday evening at the Peroni Blue Ribbon Design Awards, joking that since becoming a mother she has been tempted to pursue teaching.
Your party anthems
Last week we asked for an appropriate Labour conference anthem. By far our preferred option was The Doors' "Been Down So Long", as sent in by David Ferrabee. In the event, the party's choice was rather less tasteful: a combination of KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way I Like It" and M People's "Moving On Up". Groovy.
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