Anti-Corbyn group Labour Tomorrow funded by former Blair spin doctor who runs Peter Mandelson’s consultancy firm

Labour Tomorrow itself was set up to distribute funds to other Labour centrist groups

Jon Stone
Tuesday 20 September 2016 13:45 BST

A new anti-Corbyn group is receiving funding from Tony Blair's former spin doctor – who now runs Peter Mandelson’s consultancy firm, Electoral Commission filings show.

Benjamin Wegg-Prosser is the managing partner at Global Counsel, a company chaired by Peter Mandelson which helps businesses trying to influence policy.

Also Tony Blair’s former strategic director of communications, Mr Wegg-Prosser loaned Labour Tomorrow Ltd £10,000 on 27 June – at the same time as MPs resigned en masse from the shadow cabinet in the so-called “coup”.

Widely regarded as hostile to Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Tomorrow’s website says it “raises, coordinates and distributes funds for moderate centre-left organisations which are committed to rebuilding a consensus for a Labour government”.

The group was founded by the former Gordon Brown aide Nicola Murphy. Other directors include former home secretary Lord Blunkett and Labour peer Baroness Dean.

Other donors to Labour Tomorrow include hedge fund manager Martin Taylor, Community, the steelworkers’ union long associated with Labour centrists, and Baron Myners, a former City Minister under Gordon Brown. These three donations were not loans but rather full donations.

Meanwhile Labour Tomorrow itself then in turn donated £117,000 to Saving Labour, another anti-Corbyn group that in August claimed to have recruited 120,000 people to vote for Owen Smith.

Mr Wegg-Prosser was Tony Blair's director of strategic communications at Downing Street from 2005 to 2007

Mr Smith has been keen to associate his campaign with the 'soft left' of the Labour party – with the right-most wing of the Labour party tending to keep a low profile during the leadership election.

Electoral Commission filings released today also show that long-standing New Labour group Progress has been given thousands by lobbyists for the private equity industry.

The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association donated twice to the group in recent months, giving separate donations of £7,200 and £3,300 each.

The Labour leadership result is due this Saturday at an event ahead of the party’s conference in Liverpool.

The latest polling suggested Mr Corbyn would beat his rival Owen Smith by a large margin, in part thanks to large numbers of new members joining the party to vote for him.

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