SNP urge Ken Macintosh to return ‘impermissible’ donation

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By a Newsnet reporter

SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell has urged Labour’s Finance spokesman Ken Macintosh to return a donation he received from an organisation that brands itself a charity.

The Sunday Herald revealed that Mr Macintosh (pictured), a former Scottish Labour leader candidate, took £1,625 from Scottish Asian Pakistan (SAP) Foundation in December when he was a candidate for leadership of the Labour party in Scotland.

Mr Macintosh came in second in the contest, despite Labour leader Ed Miliband being unable to recall his name.

The Scottish Asian Pakistan Foundation describes itself as a charity which aims to give advice and support to members of the Scottish Asian community in Edinburgh and the Lothians. 

Charities are legally prohibited from making political donations and are intended to be non-political bodies.  In Holyrood’s directory of members’ interests Murdo Fraser MSP of the Scottish Conservatives lists himself as an unrenumerated patron of SAP.    

However there are close links between the board of directors of SAP and the Labour party.  One of the directors of SAP is Mr Amer Masood, who is also general secretary of Edinburgh Labour Community Cohesion Taskforce.  On its website, this group describes its aim as being to “promote Labour party policies and beliefs” amongst members of Edinburgh’s ethnic minority communities.

Any donation made by SAP to Mr Macintosh would have had to have been approved by SAP’s board of directors.  SAP’s decision to make a political donation to Mr Macintosh during his leadership campaign is likely to cause Mr Fraser to rethink his position as a patron of the foundation.

Mr Maxwell, SNP MSP for West Scotland, said:

“This was a serious error of judgement by Ken Macintosh in taking a political donation from a body that describes itself as a charity.

“As it appears to have come from a non-permissible source, he should return the money immediately.

“Charities must not make political donations either to parties or to individual candidates and it is a breach for an organisation to describe itself as a charity when it isn’t.

“Mr Macintosh has got himself embroiled in a disastrous situation that casts a huge question mark over his ability to be a finance spokesman.

“He should return the money and make it clear how much he knew about the SAP Foundation describing itself as a charitable organisation.”