Ed Miliband releases his list of dinners with union bosses and wealthy donors


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Indy Politics

Ed Miliband has met Labour's major union donors more than 20 times since he was elected leader of the party in 2010, it was disclosed yesterday.

Mr Miliband's office published a list of 43 meetings and dinners with major donors to the Labour Party, including union bosses, the Labour peer Lord Sugar and mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone. He also listed six meetings with the businessman Andrew Rosenfeld, who lent Labour £1m before the 2005 election and has given £120,000 under his leadership.

Other business figures he has met privately include property tycoon Kevin McGrath, ex-chairman of Green & Blacks Henry Tinsley and Canary Wharf developer Sir George Iacobescu.

The move came after Prime Minister David Cameron released details of Tory donors whom he has hosted at 10 Downing Street and Chequers.

But the Labour leader included all meetings at his home or office with trade union general secretaries and donors who had given £7,500 or more, going further than Mr Cameron, who earlier this week published details of meals with "significant" donors who gave more than £50,000. A Labour spokesman said: "We promised openness and transparency and we have delivered. David Cameron should match this by publishing his own list of all meetings and dinners with donors who have given more than £7,500."

Mr Cameron released details of 12 Tory donors who had dinner at Downing Street and five who ate with him at Chequers as the result of the row sparked by Conservative co-treasurer Peter Cruddas, who told undercover reporters that a donation of £250,000 or more could secure them an invitation to meet the PM.

Mr Miliband's list includes all published donors to Labour whom he has met since becoming leader in September 2010. Donations below £7,500 to the central party are not required to be published by electoral law.

It revealed that Mr Miliband has met Len McCluskey, the leader of Britain's largest union, Unite, on eight occasions since becoming leader. Unite, which is currently threatening to take petrol tanker drivers out on strike, has donated more than £5m to Labour under Mr Miliband's leadership. Other union leaders meeting the Labour leader included Dave Prentis of Unison (five times after £2.4m of donations) and Paul Kenny of the GMB (six times after donations totalling £2.5m).

Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party Baroness Warsi said: "This is damning proof that the Labour Party is the political wing of 'Red' Len McCluskey's Unite trade union. And 'Red' Len – who wants to bring chaos to our Olympics and damage our economy with a reckless fuel tanker strike – has made clear this is cash for policies.

"It's no wonder Ed Miliband is too weak condemn Unite's irresponsible strike threat when he's earning £630,000 for every dinner with his union paymaster."