Hain apologises for donation failure

Peter Hain failed to declare thousands of pounds worth of donations towards his unsuccessful bid to become deputy leader of the Labour party last summer, it has emerged.

The work and pensions secretary said last night he was sorry for failing to declare the full amount and source of the donations to the Electoral Commission.

He is expected to supply full details of his financial backers to the commission within days, after first stating on December 3rd that he had not fully reported the donations to his deputy leadership campaign.

Mr Hain was prompted to audit his own accounts after the Labour party was subject to criminal investigations over claims David Abrahams laundered donations into the party through intermediaries.

It is reported the scale of undeclared donations could be tens of thousands of pounds, bringing the total donated to Mr Hain’s campaign in excess of £100,000.

This is more than double that spent by his rival Harriet Harman on her successful bid for the deputy leadership.

Mr Hain had told the Electoral Commission he received £82,000 but further undeclared donations have since come to light from City and business figures, as well as a £10,000 sum from the GMB union.

Late last year the work and pensions secretary told the media he had failed to declare a £5,000 donation from Jon Mendelsohn but the Electoral Commission is still awaiting full details.

With a delay of more than six months, the commission could choose to impose a hefty fine on the MP for Neath.

In a statement issued last night Mr Hain said: “As I said in December, as a result of administrative failings within my campaign there were donations to my deputy leadership bid which were not registered within the normal time to the Electoral Commission.

“Since December I have undertaken a full audit of all donations to the campaign and have agreed with the Electoral Commission to provide the details of these late declarations to them, by the middle of January.

“I reiterate that this is deeply regrettable and I sincerely apologise.”

The prime minister was reportedly unaware of the revelation last night, rounding off a day which saw Gordon Brown attempt to launch his political fightback as the Labour party tries to put last autumn’s funding scandal behind it.