MPs query Labour's links with consultants

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Indy Politics

Senior MPs expressed deep concern yesterday that a commercial company involved in billions of pounds of government contracts is also supplying expert staff to the Labour Party free of charge.

The consultancy firm KPMG is seconding employees to work at Labour's headquarters. Stephen Uttley, a KPMG consultant specialising in the operations of the Financial Services Authority, is working as the party's finance director. His predecessor, Rees Aronson, also came from the company. The secondments are understood to have followed initial approaches from Labour.

The former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle has tabled parliamentary questions on the issue. Mr Kilfoyle told Tribune magazine: "This will profoundly concern those people who are alarmed by frequent conflicts of interest with companies awarded lucrative contracts by the Government."

David Hinchliffe, Labour chairman of the Commons Health Committee, was equally concerned. He said: "Anybody looking at this from the outside might indeed think here is a conflict of interest."

Research conducted by the GMB general union shows that KPMG is involved in more than 90 government contracts worth in excess of £12bn.

A KPMG spokeswoman said the firm had seconded staff to the Liberal Democrats and was working on a placement with Conservative Central Office. Government contracts were awarded under strict British and European law, she added.

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