Labour says millionaire donors believe in party

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Indy Politics

Charles Clarke, the Labour chairman, stepped into the Mittal affair yesterday with a staunch defence of the party's millionaire donors.

He said big backers such as the Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal did not offer their cash to buy government policies, politicians or honours, but "because they believe in politics and in the party they support".

Mr Clarke also rejected criticism of the special adviser system that blew up around Jo Moore in the Department for Transport. He told a seminar of the Social Market Foundation that coverage of the Mittal affair and the resignations of Ms Moore and the civil servant Martin Sixsmith had generated "heat and vitriol rather than light and understanding".

He said many of Labour's donors gave money because they felt they were levelling the playing field to counter the Tories, who had always had access to "enormous and secret private funding". He added that the Government had made the process more transparent.