Labour takes £50,000 from donor it rejected

A businessman rejected by Labour as a donor last year is to give £50,000 to the party to help it recover from the financial crisis it faces following the "cash for peerages" affair.

Anthony Bailey, 36, was one of 28 people who declared in a national press advertisement they were "proud to help fund the Labour Party". It was issued on Wednesday at the same time as it emerged that Lord Levy, the party's chief fundraiser, had been arrested by police investigating allegations of links between donations and nominations for a peerage.

Mr Bailey's inclusion surprised some Labour insiders. Last year, the party reportedly turned down his offer of £500,000 amid concerns that he was a lobbyist with clients including members of the Saudi royal family and defence companies such as BAE.

At the time his website said: "We know how many key governments and parliaments work and who are the key decision-makers within them that influence policy decisions. We can often facilitate meetings for our client with government or parliamentary officials and advisers."

Mr Bailey has been credited with raising £8m for Tony Blair's flagship city academies initiative as a member of the ministerial task force. The scheme was dragged into the controversy after Des Smith, a headmaster and government adviser, suggested that sponsors might receive honours.

Labour's decision to accept a £50,000 offer from Mr Bailey is seen by its opponents as a sign that the party is desperate to raise funds. Accounts to be published by the Electoral Commission next Tuesday are expected to show that Labour has plunged £26m into debt, and officials fear that the damaging publicity sparked by the "cash for honours" scandal will deter potential donors.

Angus MacNeil, the Scottish National Party MP whose complaint prompted Scotland Yard's investigation, said: "Labour is scraping the bottom of the barrel. It is so desperate that it's publicising the name of someone it wanted nothing to do with a year ago. It should explain what has changed."

Foreign donations are banned under a 2000 law pushed through by Labour.

Party officials insist that Mr Bailey's original offer was declined because of newspaper speculation, not because of a potential conflict of interest over any work in the Middle East.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, chairman of Labour's national executive committee (NEC), said: "The Labour Party has to be absolutely satisfied and prudent about the details of any donation under the terms of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000. NEC officers approved the acceptance of a donation from Mr Bailey and welcome his support as a committed Labour Party member and inter-faith worker."

Mr Bailey has been recognised by 10 foreign governments for his inter-faith, community and charity work at home and abroad, including Portugal and Morocco. He was knighted by Pope John Paul II in 2004 for his inter-faith work.

He is part-time chairman of Eligo International, a company advising corporations, governments and NGOs on protocol and ceremonial issues as well as communications issues relating to inter-faith, art and cultural organisations and special events. Since 1993, he has relied on private consultancy work and property investment for his income.

Ahmed Suleiman, a spokesman for Eligo International, said the donation to Labour was a personal matter for Mr Bailey, and had no relation with the company's work.

Mr Bailey said that he was "delighted to be able to financially support the Labour Party at this time" and had supported it since its election in 1997.

He added that he "firmly believes in Labour's fundamental mission to secure a Britain built on equality and fairness" and supported its social and economic cohesion programmes, especially those directed at Britain's diverse ethnic and religious communities.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project