Alexander “deeply regrets” campaign scandal

Scottish Labour party leader Wendy Alexander has expressed ‘deep regret’ over accusations she received illegal donations during her leadership campaign.

But she has rejected claims that she is guilty of breaching electoral law herself and vowed not to stand down.

As Gordon Brown grapples with a funding crisis of his own south of the border, reports emerged this week that Ms Alexander’s campaign team had accepted a £950 donation from Jersey-based businessman Paul Green.

Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 only individuals eligible to vote in UK elections can make donations to political parties.

“I deeply regret the damage which recent publicity has brought to the Labour party,” Ms Alexander said in a statement today.

“However, I reject any suggestion of intentional wrong doing on my part. I intend to address these matters with the Electoral Commission, with whom I am cooperating fully.

“I am confident when all the facts are known I will be exonerated of any intentional wrongdoing.”

Strathclyde police have confirmed they are investigating the allegations after a Scottish National party researcher contacted the force.

“We can confirm we have received an email and the matter will be looked into,” a statement said.

Ms Alexander, who has led Labour in opposition for the last three months, continued: “There is a great deal more I would like to say on the matter but, in light of the ongoing inquiry by the Electoral Commission, it would be inappropriate for me to do so.

“I offered myself to lead Labour in the Scottish parliament in the autumn because I believed and continue to believe I have a contribution to make to improve the lives of my fellow Scots.”

Commenting on reports in the Scottish press that Ms Alexander’s team were aware of doubts over Mr Green eligibility to donate, SNP MSP Roseanna Cunningham said “this is as serious as it gets for a political leader”.

“We have moved on from the smoking letter to the smoking list,” she added.