Health Secretary accused of receiving proxy loan
The Health Secretary, Alan Johnson has been accused in the Sunday Mirror of accepting cash through a proxy for his failed attempt to become Deptuty Leader of the Labour Party.
The tabloid says that a Pakistani in Britain on a student visa for the past three years was used to direct £3,334 towards Mr Johnson’s campaign.
50-year-old Waseem Siddiqui said he wasn’t aware who Mr Johnson was and that his brother, Ahmed Yar Mohammed – treasurer of Croydon Central Labour Party asked him to write a blank cheque.
“He said, ‘You write a cheque’,” Mr Siddiqui told the newspaper. “I write a cheque for that. For the Labour Party. That time I have no money, no job.”
The newspaper implies that Mr Siddiqui could have accepted a payment for writing the cheque.
Mr Johnson’s campaign said: “We had no reason to believe the donation came from anyone other than (Mr Siddiqui).
“We checked he was a member of the Labour Party and was on the Electoral Register and we registered the donation with the Labour Party, the Register of Members’ Interests and the Electoral Commission.
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“We immediately met the Commission in early December to discuss the record on their website and to show to them the evidence we had that these donations had been registered with the Commission during the campaign.
“The Commission undertook to check their records and we immediately resubmitted forms for the four donations so there could be no doubt of our intention to register these donations.”
The three other donations were: £1,500 from AA Care Homes, £2,000 from Sonny Leong and £2,500 from Songlines Ltd.
Mr Johnson, who came second to Equalities Minister Harriet Harman threatened to quit Tony Blair’s last cabinet if the government granted an exemption to the Sexual Orientation Regulations and allow Catholic adoption agencies to ban working with gay couples.
During his campaign, Mr Johnson gave an exclusive interview to PinkNews.co.uk.
Earlier this month, Peter Hain quit the cabinet over allegations relating to his failed bid to become Deputy Leader.