A Liberal Democrat peer has resigned from the party amidst claims that he accepted a potentially illegal donation.
Paul Strasburger said that he had been informed that allegations would be made against him in Channel 4’s Dispatches, due to be aired on Monday, and that he had referred the claims against himself to the Electoral Commission.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the programme will say a “£10,000 donation was paid by the stepfather of an undercover businessman which would be against the rules of a donations.”
Under rules overseen by the Electoral Commission and set out in law, any donation above £7,500 has to be declared and the use of a proxy as a donor, in order to hide the real giver of the money, is not permitted.
Lib Dems: policy focus
Lib Dems: policy focus
1/6 GEOFF PAYNE English Party representative, Federal Policy Committee
“The Tories have been seen over the last week for the nasty party that they are. I would go on the offensive to justify our record and ruthlessly exploit those differences over things like the benefit cap and scrapping the Human Rights Act.”
2/6 GARETH EPPS Co-chair, Social Liberal Forum
“We need to make it clear that we’re not in it for our mates, like the Tories. Some of the successes, like shared parental leave, would never have been there with only the Tories.”
3/6 DAISY COOPER Candidate, party president
“A lot of people do know that raising the tax threshold is a Liberal Democrat policy. We just need to keep telling the public that.”
4/6 JOHN PUGH Southport MP, rebelled against leadership on tuition fees
“We need to say that issues of social inequality and justice are equal priorities to economics. We must return to a traditional funding of the NHS.”
5/6 LORELY BURT Solihull MP, former deputy leadership candidate
“It does seem that we’ve been the repository of all the best ideas and that nice Mr Cameron has pinched our income tax policy and Labour the mansion tax policy.”
6/6 BARONESS PARMINTER Former chief executive, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England
“We have got to be very clear where we have stopped the Tories implementing changes that would have been detrimental to the environment.”
However, the member of the House of Lords has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
In a statement released in Friday evening, he said: “Whatever Channel 4 may say in their Dispatches programme, I do not think I have committed any offence. Having said that, I believe that we should all be accountable for what we do, so I have invited the Electoral Commission to carry an investigation into my actions.
“In the meantime, whilst I maintain that I have committed no offence, I have stopped fundraising for the party. Also, for the sake of the party, I have resigned the whip from the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords until the investigation is completed.”
Strasburger said that he had been a victim of entrapment by the television programme.
A spokesman for the party said: “Dispatches has raised important questions about one particular donation, which the party is taking seriously. The party had no reason to believe that the donation was made by anyone other than the person who signed the cheque.”
The spokesman added that the party had asked the Electoral Commission whether the donation should be handed to the commission or returned to the donor.Reuse content