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14 Jan, 2008

Nicola York - 14-Jan-2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged his support for Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain over the latest donar scandal but says this may not be enough to save Hain's job.
Brown said he would not sack Hain over his failure to declare £103,000 of donations to his campaign for the Labour deputy leadership and said he was "doing a great job".

But Brown hinted that the decision was ultimately in the hands of the Electoral Commission which is investigating Hain's failure to register the donations.

The Conservatives have also come under fire as it emerged that Shadow Chancellor George Osborne accepted £487,000 in donations last year without full declarations.

Tory leader David Cameron gave his backing to Osborne saying the situation was "completely different" to Hain's failure to declare because Osborne had sought advice on whether he had to declare these donations and had been led to believe he did not.

Last week it emerged that Hain received a £5,000 donation from Welsh financial services company Picture Financial which caused a storm of criticism from the opposition because Hain endorses the company which was accused of being a sub-prime lender.

Conservative MP Bob Spink asked Brown if it was acceptable for "the secretary of state with responsibility for the poor to endorse a sub-prime lender and then accept a £5,000 donation from that lender".

Hain is quoted on Picture Financial's website saying the company is "exactly the kind of young energetic company we need".

Picture Financial says it is not a sub-prime lender but a credit card debt consolidator.

Reports suggest Hain's own constituency Neath Labour Party is holding an emergency executive meeting on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

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