Labour ‘contracts for donations’ – row deepens

4
1813

{jcomments on}It has emerged that the police are considering launching an investigation into how one of Labour’s biggest donors in Scotland came to be awarded lucrative contracts by Labour run Glasgow Council.

The Times of London are reporting that Strathclyde police are consulting the prosecutor’s office over allegations that businessman Willie Haughey was unfairly awarded contracts while Steven Purcell was leader of Glasgow city council; Mr Haughey has donated over £1 million to the Labour party in recent years.

Documents reveal that in 2007 Mr Haughey’s company was awarded a contract worth £2.8 million a year by Council owned City Building despite the winning bid being 120% higher than rival bids.  His company City Refrigeration Holdings won two four-year fleet vehicle contracts worth over £10 million.

A rival bid spokesman said: “How can a company which has no vehicles whatsoever put in higher tenders than established car hire companies and win? It doesn’t make sense.”

Willie Haughey said the contracts “were won on a competitive tendering basis”.

Glasgow city council examined the bids process after a complaint was lodged but concluded nothing improper had taken place.

LABOUR FUNDRAISING

Meanwhile controversial council company City Building faced fresh criticism after details of more donations to the Labour party emerged.  The company came under the spotlight last week following revelations that it had paid £2000 for a table at a Labour party fundraising dinner last year.

It has now emerged that the company also paid another £2000 for a table at a similar Labour party fundraising event only last month.

City Building was set up in 2006 by former council leader Steven Purcell; the company has faced criticism over apparent links to Labour after it emerged senior executive positions had gone to people with links to the party.  Four councillors on the board of City Building were appointed by Labour and in 2008 a former general secretary of Scottish Labour, Lesley Quinn, was made a senior manager.  City Building’s managing director is Willie Docherty, the husband of Glasgow Labour councillor Sadie Docherty.

City Building are now reported to have explained that they did not know that paying £4000 for tables at Labour fundraising events amounted to a political donation.  Glasgow Council has now banned all of its arms-length businesses from making further donations to political parties.

Council chief executive George Black said: “City Building had not understood the connection between taking a table at this political party event and making a donation. City Building has agreed that in hindsight they ought to have realised the nature of the event.”

Opposition councillors reacted with fury with SNP’s Graeme Hendry demanding to know how much public cash had been given to the Labour party in this way.

Mr Hendry said: “Having first raised my concerns with City Building nine months ago about how they use their hospitality it amazes me to find that only last month they attended a Labour Party fundraiser.

“Labour must clean up its act in Glasgow, repay all donations received from council-owned companies and guarantee they will no longer use council resource for their own party political campaigns.”

Despite calls for the money to be paid back by Labour a Glasgow council spokesperson indicated that the council would not ask for the money to be returned.