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Funding of Political Parties

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When Tony Blair was elected in 1997 there were calls for a cap on individual political donations “to avoid the suspicion that money is buying influence or favours”. Instead the Labour government imposed a system of transparency. This means that donations must be declared if they exceed £5,000 at national level or £1,000 at constituency level.

Yesterday details of the latest political donations were published. This included two donations by Paul Drayson. The first one of £100,000 was followed by him obtaining a £32m contract to provide the Department of Health with smallpox vaccine (he acted as a middle man, the vaccine was actually provided by Bavarian-Nordic, a German-Danish company).

The second donation was for £500,000. This money was given six weeks after being given a peerage (he is now Lord Drayson).

In the last quarter New Labour has been donated £4.3m. This has mainly come from wealthy individuals and large corporations. These are the same people who used to pour money into the Conservative Party. In fact, some companies, with prominent members of the Conservative Party at their helm, are some of the largest donors to New Labour. It is of course just a coincidence that these companies are all involved in bidding for PFI contracts.

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