Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Yard to Include [Pounds Sterling]10m Union Fund in Labour Loans Probe

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Yard to Include [Pounds Sterling]10m Union Fund in Labour Loans Probe

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON BEATTIE

LABOUR suffered a fresh blow in the cash-for-peerages scandal today as Scotland Yard announced it was widening its inquiry to include a [pounds sterling]10 million union fund.

The Government used taxpayers' money to set up the fund shortly before the last election to help the unions modernise.

The Met said it was investigating whether the money was effectively a way for Labour to refund the unions for their donations to the party.

Tory chairman Francis Maude, whose own party is under attack for accepting loans from overseas backers, said: "If you want sleaze, this is very, very direct sleaze - that is directly buying influence.

Labour gets two thirds of its funding from trade unions.

They're now giving some of that back... from the taxpayer."

But Labour said the fund was entirely legitimate and was also available to unions unaffiliated to the party.

Labour and the Conservatives are already facing Met investigations into whether there is a link between nominations for honours and donations to political parties. …

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