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By a Newsnet reporter

Secretary to the Treasury, Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander, has been accused of hypocrisy after accepting a donation of £10,000 from nightclub owner James Palumbo, who was created a Lib Dem peer just 2 days after Mr Alexander registered the donation.

Mr Palumbo has given over £10,000 to Mr Alexander's Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey branch of the Lib Dems, and has reportedly given more than £500,000 to the party over the past few years.

The donation was accepted on March 17th – but not declared in Mr Alexander’s register of interests until July 30th.  Mr Palumbo was made a peer two days later.

The revelations follow a similar row about Domino-s Pizza entrepreneur Rumi Verjee, who was also made a peer at the beginning of August.  Mr Verjee is reported to have donated around £800,000 to the Liberal Democrats.

In the run up to the 2010 General Election, the Lib Dems said that if they acheived power they would make a priority of cleaning up the discredited system of party donations and peerages being given to large donors.  In a policy document published in 2009, the party stated:

"The issue of cash for honours and large donations to particular parties by individuals undermines public confidence in the political system and the democratic process.  People are seen as being able to buy influence, and peerages, thereby influencing political decisions.  Without a clean-up of the way political parties are funded, people will not trust the integrity of political parties and involvement in the political process will continue to decline.  We've got to stop big donors from bankrolling the big parties to get their way with our country."

Speaking to the Strathspey Herald, James Holt, the Lib Dem's head of media, said Mr Palumbo had been a Lib Dem supporter for some time, and had previously given donations to deputy party leader Simon Hughes, in whose constituency Mr Palumbo's nightclub is based.

Mr Holt said:

"James has supported a number of MPs in their constituencies. I know he has been particularly supportive of Simon Hughes and a couple of others. He has worked with Simon Hughes on a number of issues and Danny is one he is supportive of too."

All three of the main UK parties have given peerages to party donors this summer.  When Mr Palumbo's and Mr Verjee's peerages were made public, it was also revealed that Sir Anthony Bamford, Chairman of JCB, is to become a Conservative peer.  The Bamford family has given around £2.5m to the Conservative party since 2002.

Also created a peer in August is Scottish businessman Sir Willie Haughey, who will sit in the House of Lords as a Labour peer.  Mr Haughey has donated over £1.3 million to the Labour party and was reportedly a close ally of Stephen Purcell, the disgraced former leader of Glasgow Council.

Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP who uncovered the Cash-for-Honours scandal, has hit out at the hypocrisy of Danny Alexander for accepting the donation and his delay in reporting it.  

Mr MacNeil also criticised the main UK parties for their repeated failure to reform the House of Lords and continuing to stuff the upper chamber with party donors and political appointees.

Mr MacNeil said:

"After all the attempts by the Liberal Democrats to appear squeaky clean during the Cash for Honours scandal, they are no different to the other Westminster parties quite happily awarding peerages to major donors.

"Danny Alexander must also explain why it apparently took so long for this donation to be declared – just 48 hours before Mr Palumbo's peerage was actually announced.

"The UK parties have repeatedly failed to properly reform the Lords and the cronyism culture just goes on and on with no end in sight. It is an affront to democracy for Westminster to be stacked full of party donors and political appointees - when Scotland is able to elect just 4% of Westminster’s parliamentarians.

"A Yes vote for independence means that people in Scotland can get rid of the expensive and unrepresentative Westminster tier - which means better and cheaper government."

Comments  

 
# From The Suburbs 2013-08-31 21:20
O/T

But we need to point out that the Better Together launch in Glasgow which claimed 700 attended when the hall holds only 400 (less the numerous supine press observers)
 
 
# pic 2013-08-31 21:52
Where was the event held?

I would like to verify this via fire regs (not accusing you of inaccuracy, I just like to check my self I am on sold ground before making a complaint)

Thanks.
 
 
# From The Suburbs 2013-08-31 22:04
Quoting pic:
Where was the event held?

I would like to verify this via fire regs (not accusing you of inaccuracy, I just like to check my self I am on sold ground before making a complaint)

Thanks.


Mitchell library which main hall holds 410

Also Ruth Davison's "major speech" on young voters in Edinburgh attracted an audience of 25.
 
 
# gus1940 2013-09-01 06:01
As The Mitchell Thaeatre is owned by Glasgow Council I would be interested to know how much, if anything, BT Paid for the hire of the hall and if they did pay did they pay the normal rate.
 
 
# call me dave 2013-08-31 21:28
31 August, 2013 at 8:34 pm
BBC Report BT launch extract:
I think it’s the YES launch that got 700.
——————————————— ——————————————— ——–
A spokesman for the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign said: “We certainly agree with Johann Lamont that ‘Scotland deserves better than we have at the moment’. But why would anybody believe that sticking with a failed Westminster system that is responsible for imposing policies such as the punitive bedroom tax is the way to achieve that?”
He added: “One of the key advantages of becoming independent is to foster new, healthy and equal relationships with other countries in these isles.”
Yes Scotland said its Glasgow branch was launched nine months ago.
It claimed that its “highly-successful” launch event was attended by over 700 people.

bbc.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# pic 2013-08-31 22:19
I think you are correct there re-reading the article on question. This is the best picture they have ( well it's the one they tweeted, so they must think it was the best) twitter.com/.../1

Doesn't look too busy.

PS: who long is the delay between posts here?
 
 
# chicmac 2013-09-01 01:40
Jings, in a police line-up the victim would point out everyone on that one.
 
 
# gus1940 2013-09-01 09:18
Earlier today in a comment on an article in The Sunday Herald (It may have been the Sunday Mail) the writer stated that the massive attendance at the Glasgow BT Launch was either 71 or 91 (I can't rememeber which and I can't find the article again It wasn't clear if the figure included the legions of sycophantic reps of the media.
 
 
# Davy 2013-08-31 21:40
Heap big Libdem speaks with forked tongue, nothing new there then.

Same old same old, Westminster party patronage to whom pays them the most.
 
 
# hetty 2013-08-31 22:36
Cash for privelege is outright corruption and Keir Hardie deplored it as we all should and must. All political parties need support via some cash but this kind of unregulated donation is at best distasteful, at worst, utterly corrupt, especially when it leads to actual placements into the upper eschalons of government for those with no actual qualifications and/or knowledge about the functioning of a country with all of the complexities involved. Worrying indeed for democracy, or what's left of it!!
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2013-09-01 04:43
OT Part 1

Kevin McKenna has a excellent article in the Guardian.

Scottish referendum: a revolution, yes, but no blood will be shed

theguardian.com/.../...

“ In the last few weeks before 18 September 2014, the Yes campaigners, who have been waiting a lifetime for this, will swamp the unionists in numbers and fervour. It will be an unequal contest where thousands of votes will change hands.

Better then to calm everything down, my dears, and not scare the horses. The more heat is taken out of the debate the better for the unionists. •Better still if we can equate heat and emotion with anti-Englishness and toxic civil strife when brother will turn against brother. “
.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2013-09-01 05:06
OT Part 2

“ Britain has used similar tactics for 1,000 years in maintaining its anciens regimes and ensuring that no revolution has ever taken root. Faced with this revolution, how did you expect her to react? “

Comments for this article will open later this moning.
.
 
 
# From The Suburbs 2013-09-01 06:52
Has Wings over Scotland web site been hacked or closed down?
 
 
# Breeks 2013-09-01 07:16
Seems ok to me.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2013-09-01 07:29
From The Suburbs

Naw FTS they are back up, it must have been an outage for maintenance by their Web Host to adjust for the incredible traffic increase for the site.

wingsoverscotland.com/.../
 
 
# proudscot 2013-09-01 09:47
Political comment on Radio Scotland this morning, claimed the appointment of "SNP Spindoctor Kevin Pringle" to the Yes Scotland Camprign, means the said campaign is "in trouble"!

The person making this comment, I forget who, didn't explain how this burgeoning grass roots campaign was "in trouble", and then went on to further claim that it was being run by the SNP.

What I find annoying, not to say frustrating, is not that such comments are allowed to be made but that they are unchallanged by whoever is conducting the programme in question. Surely in the interest of balanced reporting, sweeping statements like this with an obvious political slant, should be challanged for evidence to back them up?
 
 
# iReferee 2013-09-01 11:07
I know what you mean but to be honest, saying the campaign is in trouble can be easily backed up by referencing polls which they did throughout the programme in question.

The campaign is in trouble...the polls aren't changing much and anecdotally I don't see much change in the people I talk to.

I will continue to campaign tirelessly and hard right up to decision day but unless Yes Scotland can really fire up their campaign (hopefully this appointment will help) I think we are going to lose.
 
 
# Evil Gazebo 2013-09-01 16:20
What you say might be correct where you live,however in Edinburgh i sense a much higher anticipation of a yes vote being succesful,quite a few that i know have moved over to a definite yes,from undecided.
With over 12 months to go,i favour a "nudge approach",slowly and softly answering questions how i would like them answered,buildi ng up to a point where the other has so many more reasons to vote yes,than the status quo.
The of't quoted statement, that "If we all bring one other person to our side we will win" is still valid,remember, we do not have to switch a no/don't know to a yes today,we have until they go into the ballot box in 12& a half months time.
 
 
# gus1940 2013-09-01 11:12
SoS took the same predictably biased line.
 
 
# RTP 2013-09-01 09:50
O/T
Revealed: Britain sold nerve gas chemicals to Syria 10 months after war began

I don,t see anything about this on the BBC and as Danny Alexander is in favour of military action what is his take on this story.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2013-09-01 11:30
UK's to Syria nerve chemicals link:-
dailyrecord.co.uk/.../...
There may be other sites reporting this.
Perhaps the British Broadcasting Corporation will step up to the plate?
 
 
# Wes Wemyss 2013-09-01 12:36
Cash for Access 'utterly disgraceful' but Cash for Honours 'Just Ticketyboo!' says Danny Alexander.
bbc.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# Keilers 2013-09-01 23:06
Totally OT. A nice little piece on fracking.

www.youtube.com/.../
 

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