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Why would a Labour MP accept a £5,000 personal donation from UKIP backer Arron Banks?

If you glance through the the register of individuals and organisations that have made monetary donations to our Members of Parliament you will come across many curious entries. None more curious than the staggering sum of £500.000 that was recently given to the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, by the motor racing tycoon, Max Mosley.

Just as intriguing as Watson’s windfall is a £5,000 donation recorded on the register by his fellow Labour MP, Kate Hoey. Beneath two donations from the Fire Brigades Union, which total £30,000, is a an entry for £5,000 that Hoey received from the UKIP backing multi-millionaire, Aaron Banks.

The thoroughly unpleasant diamond mine magnate, Banks, has bankrolled UKIP to the tune of over £1,000,000 in the last few years and has been the subject of recent media attention over his contemptible views about the Hillsborough disaster, which he shared on social media.

It is no secret that Hoey was campaigning hard to leave the European Union prior to last year’s referendum. However, it is surprising that she would choose to accept a personal donation from a man with such close connections to the UKIP leadership, and whose personal political convictions would seem to be at odds with the values of the Labour Party and the wider labour movement. While Hoey and Banks both wanted the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, it would not be unreasonable to assume that they wished to do so from quite different perspectives. With the views of Banks being Anathema to the vast majority of individuals involved in the Labour movement, how could Hoey possibly come to the conclusion that accepting the donation, however small, would be appropriate?

To muddy the murky waters even further, Hoey, as a leading figure in the Labour Leave campaign group, has become embroiled in a row over an £18,500 donation that was made by Labour Leave directly to UKIP. Aside from the validity of Hoey’s claims that the donation was shared spending and within the rules, the closeness and seemingly comfortable relationship between Hoey, the other Labour MPs involved in Labour Leave, and elements of UKIP, should give cause for concern for everyone involved in the Labour movement.

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