Hain cleared by campaign fund investigation

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The Independent Online

Peter Hain will not face any charges as a result of a police investigation into his handling of campaign funds. The former Work and Pensions Secretary resigned from the Cabinet in January after it emerged that 17 donations made to his campaign to become Labour's deputy leader, totalling more than £103,000, were reported late. Yesterday he described election laws brought in by a government of which he was a part as "draconian" and "dysfunctional". Mr Hain admitted he had made a serious mistake, but said it was the end of a "surreal nightmare". "I said all along that reporting some of the donations to my 2007 Labour Party deputy leader campaign late was an honest mistake," he said. "Now everyone knows that it was." Mr Hain voted for the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, which stipulates that political campaign donations must be reported within a month of receiving them.But he said the law had created an unwelcome involvement of the police in political affairs. The decision boosted hopes for a Cabinet comeback but there are no immediate signs of a recall from Gordon Brown.