“A house divided against itself cannot stand…” wrote Abraham Lincoln. “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved-I do not expect the house to fall-but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”
After the moribund post-Blairite years, Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015. Since then Labour, and the wider labour movement, has been ravaged by repeated schisms, along ideological fault-lines, for control of the party.
Now, with the new leadership team of Kier Starmer, a newly elected NEC and the prospect of three influential General Secretaries of Trade Unions stepping down in the coming months, the debate about the future of the Party has been reignited with a renewed sense of urgency.
This article is for all Labour voters and progressives that oppose Conservatism. This is for Labour voters old and new; for those feeling disenchanted or reinvigorated; for the Starmer stormtroopers or Corbyn comrades; but especially this article is for those of you unsure who to support. If the struggle of, and for, ideas and principles at the heart of the Labour party mirrors the struggle within your own heart, this article is for you.
It offers a comparative analysis of Corbyn and Starmer’s official registers of donations and interests. We have endeavoured, as best we can, to present this information neutrally, so that YOU can decide what to make of any patterns revealed (though those of you interested in our take on the matter will find this in the Conclusion).
The danger of factionalism is that strict adherence to one side or the other makes facts redundant. This article seeks to act as a corrective by foregrounding the data most likely to influence direction (as any good left-winger knows!): the economic base.
So without further ado…
SIR KEIR STARMER – DONOR ANALYSIS[i]
Starmer has received a total of £724,232 in donations in his time as a Labour MP. £708,605 of this figure was declared from January 2020 onwards.
He was accused of a lack of transparency and of delaying the release of details on who was funding his leadership campaign.
DONORS TO SIR KEIR STARMER – THE FACTS
Those of you seeking only a general overview of Starmer’s donors may wish to note the below summary then skip to the section on Corbyn.
Those of you seeking the full details will find these, in glorious abundance, beneath the bulletpoints…
Those seeking the numerous links between Starmer’s donors and anti-Corbyn pressure groups can also skip ahead to the appropriate section!
- 15 donors have a peerage or knighthood.
- 12 donors are millionaires or are/have been Chief Executives of large corporations.
- 3 donors are Trade Unions.
- 3 donors are prominent activists promoting the interests of a foreign state.
- 8 donors are directly linked to think-tanks (including Trade Union General Secretaries.)
- 8 are previously recorded as donors/ spouses of donors to, or being associated with, Tony Blair and New Labour.
- 7 are what Priti Patel would refer to as “Lefty Lawyers”.
- 12 donors donated to Owen Smith’s leadership campaign and/or to pressure groups operating to undermine Corbyn’s leadership.
- 2 donors are related to a single issue/advocacy campaign.
LORD CLIVE HOLLICK – £50,000
Millionaire Labour Peer, media executive and former investment banker. He was Chief Executive of United News and Media and credited with redirecting the political support of The Express and Daily Star towards Tony Blair’s New Labour. He has a long association with the Labour Party, working as a SPAD to both Margaret Beckett and Peter Mandelson. He also financially supported the 2020 Vision campaign run by Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn which was seen as an attempt at “troublemaking” to undermine Gordon Brown’s campaign to be Labour leader and PM.
Hollick co-founded the New Labour think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) with the superbly named Lord Eatwell. Lord Eatwell is a Labour peer and was Chief Economic Advisor to Neil Kinnock. Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair’s Head of Number 10 Policy Unit is a former director. Funders of IPPR mentioned here are highlighted in their synopsis. The IPPR most recent full funding breakdown is available here.
Hollick is a signatory, along with others in this article, of this advert placed in the Guardian by 67 Labour peers accusing Jeremy Corbyn of allowing Anti-Semitism to flourish in the Labour Party under his leadership. Hollick is married to Lady Sue Woodford-Hollick. She is a former investigative reporter and media executive. She is an author, patron of the Runnymede Trust and former advisor on Caribbean Affairs to the FCO.
The Hollicks are registered as donating to David Lammy, Liz Kendall and £7,500 to Owen Smith’s leadership campaign when he ran against Jeremy Corbyn.
Total of £57,000 donated to individuals directly against Corbyn for leader.
SIR TREVOR CHINN CVO – £50,000
Millionaire entrepreneur and long-term donor to the Labour Party. Chinn has had numerous roles in equity and investment and has been Chief Executive of the RAC. He was a major contributor to Tony Blair’s Labour Leader’s Office Fund. He is a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council, and a former Chairman of the London Mayor’s Fund, appointed by Boris Johnson. He has served as President of the United Jewish Israel Appeal, as an advisory Editor at Fathom Journal and is on the Executive Committee of BICOM.
An excellent report on how deeply embedded BICOM is in the British and US establishments by Spin-watch and Middle East Monitor can be read here. He is a Trustee of the New Israel Fund as well as sponsoring both Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel Parliamentary Groups. In 2018 he was a registered donor to the Institute for Public Policy Research.
Chinn has also donated substantial funds to pressure groups Labour Together, Remain Labour, Saving Labour and Movement For Change as well as MP’s including Angela Raynor, Tom Watson, Tristram Hunt and £27,000 to Owen Smith’s Leadership bid.
In total Chinn has donated at least £147,000 to anti-Corbyn individuals and entities.
UNISON – £31,455
The largest trade union in the UK. Dave Prentis is the current general secretary but will step down at the end of this year. He and UNISON were described by Nick Eardley of the BBC as “a more moderate influence in Mr Corbyn’s party”. Unison backed Keir Starmer’s leadership bid which has seen Labour “moderates” now “in the ascendency”. Prentis is a member of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) Policy Advisory Council as well as the Labour Party Joint Policy Committee. He has also served on the National Council of the think-tank Catalyst alongside Roy Hattersley and Michael Meacher. Catalyst has now amalgamated with Compass, which is Chaired by Neal Lawson. More on Compass below.
Eardley states that the “contest to replace Prentis could influence Labour’s direction.”
The current frontrunner is Christina McAnea. She says that she “knows Keir…but we don’t have a close relationship.” The LabourList site notes that she has “criticised what she saw as the over-prominent role played by fringe left-wing parties such as the Socialist Party and the SWP in UNISON, saying that she felt it “puts some people off” from getting more involved with the union”
In April 2020 Prentis faced dissent from some UNISON members after it was revealed two current senior staff members were involved in the Labour Leaks scandal. The member’s letter accused these two of being key players in the “the factionalised and coordinated undermining of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership” led by Iain McNicol (also a signatory of the Labour Peers letter).
Emilie Oldknow OBE was Labour’s Executive Director of Governance and is married to current Labour MP Jon Ashworth. Gordon Brown attended their wedding. Ashworth’s register of interests include Tufton Street based Policy Network and Labour Friends of Bangladesh.
John Stolliday is now Head of the Member Liaison Unit at Unison having formerly worked as Head of Strategic Communications at The People’s Vote UK and as Labour Party Governance Director. The Herald reported that in another conversation exposed in the Labour Leaks “Stolliday discussed trying to stop “trots” from being selected as Labour’s candidate for a parliamentary seat in Scotland”.
Aside from Starmer, Angela Raynor MP has registered the most direct UNISON donations recently. They were also registered in 2018 as donors to IPPR.
LORD JONATHAN KESTENBAUM – £5,000
Labour Peer and Chief Operating Officer of RIT Capital which was founded by Lord Nathaniel Jacob Rothschild. Kestenbaum has previously served as Chief Executive of the United Jewish Israel Appeal and Chief Executive of the Office of Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. He is Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council and a signatory of the Labour Peers letter. In April 2020 Kestenbaum was present on a conference call made by Starmer and Raynor to representatives of the British Jewish community where he and Trevor Chinn are described as “advisors”.
Only registered donation is to Keir Starmer.
LORD WAHEED ALLI – £100,000
Labour Peer, media executive and LGBTQ+ activist. He was formerly an investment banker and is currently on the Board of Silvergate Media and Olga Productions, having previously worked for Chorion and Endemol. He was also a Chairman of ASOS. He worked with David Cameron at Carlton Communications and as part of Tony Blair’s election team. He is a signatory of the Labour Peer letter to Corbyn. He co-founded Shine Limited with Elisabeth Murdoch despite attacking the intimate links of “unscrupulous tabloid newspapers, their owners and the political elite as unhealthy. He was quoted saying ‘we [New Labour] started it, and we got it wrong’”.
As well as Keir Starmer and the Labour Party Alli has donated directly to his friend Emily Thornberry MP, Jess Philips, Owen Smith, Angela Eagle, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham. Ali’s partner Charlie Parsons donated £75,000 to Owen Smith.
Total £175,000 to alternative Labour leaders.
SONNY LEONG CBE – £5,000
Served as an Executive on the Board of BAME Labour and Chinese For Labour as well as the Labour Party 1000 Club (now the Rose Network). He is a Trustee of Futures First and a Director of the progressive news and blog site LeftFootForward.org.
The Labour 1000 Club was a group of donors who financed Tony Blair and his New Labour project. Blair was a regular attendee at their events. This article from the Times highlighted the controversial nature of the club, as none of the donors appeared on any official registers yet gained privileged access to ministers. Leong is now a member of the Rose Network’s new Chair’s Circle scheme for donors, brought in under Keir Starmer’s leadership.
The Chair Circle membership is a minimum of £5,000 a year, which, in return, provides access to exclusive invitation-only events with senior party members. “By joining, you will play an active role in Labour’s fight to improve the lives of people across the whole of the UK by electing Labour councillors and MPs.” (emphasis ours).
Leong has also donated to Blairite MPs Lisa Nandy, Yvette Cooper and Caroline Flint.
MARTIN CLARKE – £25,000
Former Chief Executive of the AA. He became a millionaire working for private equity firms including Permira. He is a former Labour Parliamentary candidate and associate of Chuka Umunna. He stated that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour was a party “simply so alien to my own views of what a Labour party is all about” he would cease funding it – which he duly did, under Corbyn.
Clarke was a key supporter of Change UK (The Independent Group For Change) that was founded by seven Labour MPs who resigned from the Labour Party claiming it had become “institutionally anti-Semitic” under Corbyn’s leadership. Chuka Umunna is among the Change UK members.
As well as supporting Change UK, Clarke also donated to the Labour Party before Corbyn’s leadership, as well as giving £10,000 to Progress Ltd, The In Campaign Ltd and Yvette Cooper’s leadership campaign.
LADY KATHARINE (KATE) GAVRON – £5,000
The widow of Labour peer and Blair era donor Lord Robert Gavron, who contributed £500,000 to Blair and Labour in 1999. Kate has served as a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust and of Reprieve. Robert Gavron was a multimillionaire publisher and former Chair of the Guardian Media Group. He was also a Trustee of the Institute for of Public Policy Research. Robert Gavron was a key sponsor of the Labour Leaders Office Fund which supported Tony Blair as Labour Leader whilst in opposition[ii].
FELICIA NICOLETTE (NICKY) GAVRON – £2,000
Ex-wife of Lord Robert Gavron. She is a former Deputy Mayor of London under Ken Livingstone and is a member of the London Assembly. It was reported that at one time she was a member of 16 separate quangos and was appointed to Labour’s planning task force by then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. She was a signatory to another letter sent to Jeremy Corbyn by Labour members of the London Assembly demanding urgent action be taken on Anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
Felicia Nicolette/ Nicky Gavron has donated directly to Yvette Cooper’s leadership campaign and prior to Corbyn’s leadership she donated to the Labour Party.
USDAW – £25,000
Union of Shop Workers, Distributive and Allied Workers. Their General Secretary is Paddy Lillis. He is a former Chair of the Labour Party and has sat on the NEC. USDAW supported Owen Smith’s challenge to Corbyn for Leadership of the Labour Party. In 2018 Lillis followed Dave Prentis and Tim Roache, head of the GMB at the time, requesting urgent action be taken to tackle Anti-Semitism within the Labour party. In 2018 USDAW are registered as having donated to IPPR.
USDAW have also donated directly to Angela Raynor, Tom Watson and Luciana Berger (of Change UK) as well as the Labour Party.
MIRANDA GRELL – £2,000
Barrister and former Labour Party Councillor and researcher for Deputy Mayor of London, Nicky Gavron. She served on the Board of Compass which, as we mentioned above, amalgamated with Catalyst and was affiliated to the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign group.
Compass is Chaired by Neal Lawson, a political commentator and activist. He co-founded LLM Communications with Jonathan Mendelsohn. Lord Mendelsohn is a Board Member of Progress, a former Chairman of Labour Friends of Israel and the New Israel Fund UK. Current Board members of NIF UK include Trevor Chinn. Mendelsohn has been named in several controversies including with Derek Draper in the Lobbygate scandal and he was asked to move to the backbenches by Jeremy Corbyn after he attended the infamous President’s Club dinner. Mendelsohn also signed the Labour Peers letter mentioned above.
PETER COATES – £25,000
Billionaire co-founder of Bet365 and Chairman of Stoke City FC. He was a key backer of Tony Blair’s election campaign in 1997 and was a vocal critic of Corbyn, redirecting his patronage of the Labour party under Corbyn to party members “whose centrist views are more aligned to his own.”
He donated to Tristram Hunt in 2015 when he stepped down in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader. Hunt is a former Fellow of the Institute for Public Policy Research.
LADY GAIL REBUCK – £4558
Chair of publishers Penguin Random House. She is a Labour Party peer and widow of Philip Gould. She is a signatory of the Labour Peer letter attacking Jeremy Corbyn for Anti-Semitism within the Labour Party along with others mentioned here. Her daughter, Georgia Gould is a Labour Councillor and Leader of Camden Borough Council and is described as a “close ally” of Keir Starmer by the Fathom Journal, published by BICOM. Her father, and husband of Gail, was Philip Gould. He was a Labour Peer and former Communications Director for Peter Mandelson and described by Tony Blair as his “guide and mentor.” Gould went on to become a Non-Executive Director at Freud Communications, the PR Firm founded by Mathew Freud and linked to Tony Blair as well as David Cameron and George Osborne. Freud was formerly married to Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert.
Apart from Starmer, Rebuck has no registered donations since 2010.
LADY JOAN BAKEWELL – £5,000
Labour Peer, TV Presenter and Journalist. She was a signatory of the Labour Peer Anti-Semitism letter to Corbyn and elsewhere described him as “a child”. Her only registered donation is to Keir Starmer.
MARTIN TAYLOR – £95,000!
Multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who rose to prominence as a Labour donor after it was revealed he’d had at least one personal meeting with Ed Miliband. He penned this article in The Independent outlining the apparent incongruity between his profession and his political beliefs. In 2018 he was a registered donor to IPPR. Other recipients of his patronage include Angela Raynor, Labour Together, Saving Labour, Labour Tomorrow and Dan Jarvis MP.
In total Martin Taylor has donated £516,000(!) to Keir Starmer or groups opposing Jeremy Corbyn outlined below.
LADY DENISE KINGSMILL – £2,000
Labour Peer, barrister and Chairman of Monzo. She is also a member of the Economic Affairs Committee. She is another signatory of the Labour Peer letter. She described the party under Corbyn’s potential leadership in 2015 as “Labour will be led by a Dad’s army of scruffy old white men living out the revolutionary fantasies of their youth” and that he was “dangerous”. Kingsmill was identified as a member of the Labour 1000 Club mentioned above.
Her only other registered donation is to Jess Philips.
COMMUNITY – £25,000
Trade Union whose General Secretary is Roy Rickhuss OBE. Community supported Owen Smith’s attempt to gain leadership of the Labour Party from Jeremy Corbyn, with Rickhuss describing Smith “as radical as he is pragmatic.”
Community also donated directly to Wes Streeting, Ian Murray, Stephen Kinnock as well as Labour Tomorrow.
ECOTRICITY GROUP LTD – £20,000
Green Energy provider founded by Dale Vince OBE. Vince is Chairman of Forest Green Rovers FC. He endorsed Caroline Lucas and has donated through Ecotricity to Labour, The Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party, and directly to Andy Burnham’s leadership campaign.
IAN ROSENBLATT OBE – £5,000
Corporate lawyer and patron of musical charities. He founded Redleaf Polhill, a Communications agency with his wife Emma Kane. Redleaf was amalgamated and rebranded as Newgate where Emma remains Joint Chief Executive Officer. Rosenblatt is a Trustee of the Community Security Trust, a British Charity established to protect Jewish communities from Anti-Semitic violence and discrimination. Politicians that have attended CST events include Theresa May, David Cameron, Amber Rudd, Yvette Cooper and Tom Watson. Others include Mark Regev.
Apart from £5000 to Keir Starmer and the Labour Party Rosenblatt has donated £5000 directly to Owen Smith’s leadership bid.
PAUL MYNERS CBE – £10,000
Former Chairman of the Guardian Media Group and Marks&Spencers. He has also served on the Board of Rothschild’s owned RIT Capital Partners Ltd. He was Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury under Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He is an advisor at the Global Counsel think-tank. Other advisors at GC include Tony Blair’s chief business advisor Geoffrey Norris and Blair’s Director of Strategic Communications Benjamin Wegg-Prowser, who funded Labour Tomorrow. The Chairman is Peter Mandelson, who also signed the Labour Peers letter. Myners is a director of the strategy firm Edelman. Other senior staff include Chuka Umunna, Anji Hunter and Luciana Berger, Co-Founder of Change UK.
Myners has donated to MPs directly including Angela Eagle, Rachel Reeves and Chuka Umunna as well as registered pressure groups Referendum Facts Ltd, Labour Tomorrow and The In Campaign Ltd. He also donated to The Independent Group For Change (Change UK). Myners has spent at least £20,000 directly to oppose Corbyn.
ROBERT LATHAM – £100,000
A Camden Labour activist and Barrister specialising in Human Rights and Housing Law. Latham is a former colleague of Starmer’s at the Doughty Street legal firm and was the recipient of a Legal Aid Barrister of the Year Award in 2008, presented by Cherie Booth QC, wife of Tony Blair.
(There is a Robert Latham and Robert Lantham registered on the EC site and we are surmising that logically this is the same person and there has been an erroneous but unintentional spelling error!)
He has donated to Starmer’s constituency since 2005, but since 2019 has donated over £100,000 to Starmer directly.
GRAHAM COLE CBE – £5,000
Chairman of Horton International and formerly AugustaWestland. He has served on a number of UK Ministerial Committees and was appointed by Chuka Umunna to lead the Cole Commission into Labour’s policy on British exports.
Graham Cole has also donated to Rachel Reeves, Owen Smith (£7500) and Andy Burnham.
STEPHEN KINSELLA OBE – £15,000
We believe he is a lawyer specialising in EU legislation and the Founder of Clean Up The Internet. He is an OBE and a Trustee of Reprieve and Hacked Off. He states on Twitter that he is a supporter of BylineTimes. He was a signatory of yet another letter to Jeremy Corbyn, this one urging him to endorse a public vote on Brexit in 2019. He is a long-time donor to the Labour Party but is also a patron of Owen Smith’s leadership bid (£10,000) and of Labour For A Public Vote Ltd. Total anti-Corbyn expenditure £25,000.
***Check appendix 1 for remaining, less high-profile donors
LOBBY AND MP GROUPS (STARMER…AND A LITTLE BIT OF OWEN SMITH)
In this section we cross-reference donors to Keir Starmer with those that have donated to, or are otherwise involved in, groups that have publicly endorsed Starmer/ undermined Corbyn.
The names of donors or significant influencers in this section get bigger the more times they’re mentioned.
LABOUR TOGETHER proclaim that:
“Labour needs to create at all levels of its organisation, the kind of political leadership that can build bridges, respect difference and reconcile opposing interests…This can be built on Labour’s values of tolerance, fraternity and respect, and will help Labour achieve our purpose of a more just world. It is Labour’s responsibility to bring the country back together, but first we must bring Labour together.”
Labour Together has only two officially registered donors. They are Trevor Chinn who gave £35,000 and Martin Taylor, who gave £171,000!
Labour Together is registered as donating to Labour Network in England Ltd and the Labour Tribune MP’s Group. All donations to and from LT are from 2015 onwards.
Labour Together has registered as current Directors:
- Hannah Elisabeth O’Rourke. She is a former Parliamentary Researcher to Tristram Hunt and has had articles published by Compass.
- Trevor Chinn. Covered previously.
- Jon Cruddas MP, who initially sponsored Corbyn’s leadership bid but changed allegiance to Owen Smith. Has is also connected to Compass and IPPR and is a member of Labour Friends of Israel and Labour Tribune Group.
- Lisa Nandy. Also linked to Compass and IPPR. Nandy Co-Chaired Owen Smith’s Leadership challenge. Also a member of Labour Tribune Group.
- Steve Reed (also a Tribunite) OBE supported Owen Smith’s leadership bid. Also contributed to Compass and IPPR.
- Morgan McSweeney worked on Owen Smith’s bid and was Starmer’s campaign manager for leadership. It has recently been revealed by The Canary that McSweeney is linked to an organisation called Centre For Countering Digital Hate, which launched a campaign group called Stop Funding Fake News. The CCDH shares the same address as LT and has received funding from Rachel Riley. Read the excellent Canary account of SFFN’s attempts to get them closed down here.
For more information you can check out our article on Labour Together here.
LABOUR NETWORK IN ENGLAND LTD is an organisation founded to increase electoral support for Labour in England specifically. Directors are John Denham MP and Joe Jervis.
Only one registered donation, which came from Labour Together.
Founding supporters that we have mentioned elsewhere in this article include Liam Byrne, Jon Cruddas and Morgan McSweeney.
SAVING LABOUR was a secretive campaign group from within the Labour Party working against Jeremy Corbyn as leader in his fight with Owen Smith and, was organised by Corbyn’s erstwhile ally Reg Race.
Saving Labour has four registered donors. Trevor Chinn gave £10,000, Martin Taylor gave £20,000, Labour Tomorrow £117,460 and Betterworld Ltd £10,000.
Betterworld Ltd has also donated to Lisa Nandy, Jess Philips, Tom Watson, Owen Smith and Labour Tomorrow Ltd. Betterworld Directors are Rebecca and Henry Tinsley. Rebecca Tinsley is a former BBC journalist, author, and founder of the Waging Peace charity helping the survivors of genocide in Africa.
LABOUR TOMORROW is an anti-Corbyn campaign group. Out of a total 7 donors to Labour Tomorrow those mentioned already in this article are: Betterworld Ltd, Community Trade Union, Martin Taylor (Donated £230,000! to Labour Tomorrow) and Paul Myners (£10,000). Other donors are Lord Matthew Oakeshott, David Taylor and Fieldbonds ltd.
Matthew Oakeshott is a former investment banker and sits as an independent peer in the House of Lords. He has variously donated to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Layla Moran, Ian Murray, Rachel Reeves, Chuka Umunna, Rosie Duffield and Owen Smith.
Fieldbonds ltd’s only other registered donations are to the Liberal Democrats. This begs the question: why contribute to a Labour Party pressure group?
David Taylor we were unable to verify. He is a Labour Party donor and has also donated directly to Liz Kendall.
Initial funding for Labour Tomorrow was also provided by Benjamin Wegg-Prosser. He is a former Director of Strategic Communications under Prime Minister Tony Blair and current Managing Director of Global Counsel, whose chairman is Peter Mandelson. The Independent reported that Wegg-Prosser donated on the 27th June 2016, the same day as the mass resignation of Labour MPs forced a leadership contest.
Labour Tomorrow is one of four registered donors to Saving Labour.
Listed Directors of Labour Tomorrow Ltd are David Blunkett, Nicola Murphy, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon and Baroness Brenda Dean.
David Blunkett is David Blunkett.
Nicola Murphy is a former SPAD and founder of the Parliamentary Research Service for Labour MPs. Murphy was also the Political Director of The Independent Group For Change.
Baroness Royall is a Labour Peer and former SPAD to Neil Kinnock. She was Vice-Chair of the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party. Could someone like Royall who, whilst active in opposition groups to Jeremy Corbyn, truly remain objective in an investigation into anti-Semitic accusations against him?
Baroness Dean is a Labour Peer and Trade Unionist.
CHANGE UK/ THE INDEPENDENT GROUP FOR CHANGE was a group of centrist MPs. 7 of them came from the Labour Party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and, in particular, his approach to Brexit. Change UK received initial financial support from Lord Myners and Martin Clarke. Change UK also registered donations from THE&Partners, a former Director of which is Peter Mandelson. Mandelson is also a signatory of the Labour Peer advert.
The Political Director of The Independent Group for Change was Nicola Murphy, who as stated above, is now a Director of Labour Tomorrow.
HONURABLE MENTION: PROGRESS LTD. All Labour members of The Independent Group for Change were members of Progress. The group allied with Labour First to challenge Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum and to form “Labour to Win” to unify the “moderate” forces within the Labour movement. Director of Labour to Win Nathan Yeowall is also a Director at Labour First. He is a former Head of Policy at New Philanthropy Capital, former political analyst for the BBC and former researcher for Kevin Brennan MP.
Donors or affiliates of Progress who have already been mentioned in this article as donors or connections include: Peter Mandelson, Martin Clarke (£10,000), Community Union, Edelman, Newgate Communications, USDAW, Compass and Left Foot Forward. Tony Blair donated £10,000 to Progress Ltd in 2018.
Progress is based at 11 Tufton Street and was founded by Liam Byrne and Derek Draper. Draper is a former lobbyist, researcher for Peter Mandelson and founder of the LabourList website.
Donors include Tony Blair, Roger Liddle and Lord David Sainsbury. Directors include Lord Mendelsohn, Margaret Prosser, and Jennifer Gerber who is a former director of Labour Friends of Israel. Mendelsohn, Prosser and Liddle also all signed the Labour Peer letter.
LABOUR FIRST proclaims on their homepage that “everyone involved in Labour First is first and foremost an active campaigner for a Labour victory. We put our party above any internal faction or current of opinion, hence the name “Labour First”. The Secretary of Labour First is arch-factionalist Luke Akehurst and Nathan Yeowell of Progress is a Director of Labour First’s Labour to win campaign.
As of writing Luke Akehurst has just been elected to the Labour NEC as a candidate representing Labour to Win. He is a former Director at Weber Shandwick, a PR company that Priti Patel also worked for. He is a Director of We Believe In Israel, a lobby group that seeks to, amongst other things, “ensure support for Israel is heard in debates whether online, in the traditional media or at public events.” Full mission statement here. We believe in Israel has been described as the “grassroots wing of Pro-Israel Group BICOM.”
Labour First registered Directors are Luke Akehurst, Keith Dibble and John Spellar.
Keith Dibble is a former Labour councillor. He has served as chair of the South East Regional Board and is a former representative of Unite’s National Political Committee.
John Spellar is a Labour MP who supported Owen Smith’s leadership challenge. He has also served on the Advisory Council of The Henry Jackson Society, who we have covered for their links to Michael Gove! Spellar’s officially registered donors include the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange and Labour Friends of Israel.
LABOUR TRIBUNE MPs GROUP stood three candidates for election to the NEC. They claim “The Tribune group represents people of the left of the Labour Party who want to work with others to see our socialist values realised in government. We want a unified movement with a radical agenda.”
The Labour Tribune MPs old website has been deleted but Keir Starmer is a member. We have requested an up to date list for transparency! MP’s referenced in this Observer article include Owen Smith, Jon Cruddas, and Yvette Cooper. It was relaunched by Clive Efford MP and newly elected NEC Chair Margaret Beckett is also a member.
Only three registered donors. Two we have mentioned already are Helen Rowe (£10,000) and Labour Together (£15,000). The third, Patrick Allen (£10,000) was a donor to Labour before Corbyn and also gave funds to Owen Smith’s leadership campaign. He is a lawyer and founder of the Progressive Economy Forum. Some notable cases he was involved win include the Magdalene Laundries and Gulf War Illness steering group. He is a member of the Society of Labour Lawyers.
Check out our article about the Tribune Group and Margaret Beckett for more context, such as the fact that Cruddas, Lisa Nandy and Steve Reed are Tribunites and also directors of Labour Together!
REMAIN LABOUR is a campaign group gathering support for a confirmatory referendum on Brexit. The only donor to Remain Labour is Sir Trevor Chinn. He donated £20,000 plus £5000 directly to Andrew Lewin.
Andrew Lewin is the Director. He publicly criticised Jeremy Corbyn after the Labour leader secured support for his neutral Brexit strategy at the 2019 party conference. Lewin stated “”We are going to be unable to answer the question ‘are you for Remain or Leave’. Obviously, lots of good people and senior people like Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry etc are going to say individually but that’s not what the public will see.”
Lewin is a previous Associate Director at Fishburn Hedges and Teneo (formerly Blue Rubicon), both lobby groups. He is currently Head of Communications at Clarion Housing Group.
Clarion Housing includes amongst its Board Gavin Barwell, former Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Theresa May. There is also Tom Smyth who is an Executive Vice Chairman at Rothschild and Co.
Owen Smith and Chuka Umunna were speakers at a Remain Labour rally at Westminster.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF OWEN SMITH is that he was the figure put forward in 2016 to challenge Jeremy Corbyn following the coup by Labour MPs (who invoked mass resignation to force a leadership election).
Support for Owen Smith, including financial support, can also therefore be seen as action to remove Corbyn from leadership. We cross-referenced those who donated to Starmer and Owen Smith, those who donated to Starmer and centrist pressure groups, and those who donated to Owen Smith and centrist pressure groups:
Ian Rosenblatt, Trevor Chinn, Waheed Alli (and partner Charlie Parsons), Betterworld Ltd, Stephen Kinsella, Clive Hollick, David Blunkett, Matthew Oakeshott, Patrick Allen, Graham Cole, Martin Taylor, Helen Rowe, Paul Myners, Martin Clarke and Alexander Silverleaf.
Owen Smith received a total of £866,905 for his leadership challenge.
Owen Smith, much like Keir Starmer, therefore earned more financial support in one leadership election than Corbyn received in his five years in charge.
JEREMY CORBYN-DONOR ANALYSIS[iii]
Registered donations have been taken from 2015 onwards to match the period of Corbyn’s campaign for and tenure as leader of the Labour Party, including after his replacement by Keir Starmer.
Over that period Corbyn received a total of £332,294 in direct donations and £180,123 in loans. Loans can be viewed here. The Unite and Momentum loans listed were converted to donations and the loan from Jon Lansman was repaid. Corbyn received total funds of £512,417 in this five-year period.
DONORS TO JEREMY CORBYN- THE FACTS
- 2 donors to Jeremy Corbyn have peerages or knighthoods.
- 1 donor is a Chief Executive.
- 6 donors are Trade Unions.
- 0 donors are prominent activists advocating for foreign states.
- 5 donors are linked to think-tanks (including Trade Union leaders.)
- 0 donors are linked to Tony Blair.
- 4 donors are what Priti Patel would call “Lefty Lawyers.”
- 6 donors have links to pressure groups campaigning against the current Labour Leadership (this includes those donors that as individuals are affiliated to Momentum, as well as Momentum as an individual entity with links to other groups.)
- 2 donors are campaign/single issue advocacy groups.
MOMENTUM – £50,000
Grassroots movement and pressure group within the Labour Party. Momentum was founded in 2015 following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader. Momentum was founded by Jon Lansman, Adam Klug, Emma Rees and James Schneider. Momentum’s stated goal is:
“The Labour Party must be transformed into a more open, democratic, member-led party that’s ready to win elections. Whether it’s local or national elections, Momentum believes ordinary people should be front-and-centre of getting Labour into power.”
Corbyn’s 2016 leadership opponent Owen Smith (and others) have accused Momentum of using the same tactics as the Militant Tendency to influence Labour party policy and candidate selection.
Militant was a campaign group usually described as being founded on Trotskyist principles (especially by The Mail, The Telegraph and The Express!) that was accused of using entryist tactics to gain influence and power by the leadership. The movement was proscribed by Neil Kinnock’s office in the 1980s and its members were expelled from the Labour Party.
This scenario sound familiar?
Jeremy Corbyn opposed the purging at the time stating, “if expulsions are in order for Militant, they should apply to us too.” Corbyn was identified by the Express as the Provisional Convener of the ‘Defeat The Witch Hunt’ Campaign with which Ken Livingstone was also affiliated. Militant led the All-Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation’s non-payment of Thatcher’s Poll Tax.
JON LANSMAN – £5,123 (loan)
A former advisor to Tony Benn and Michael Meacher, Lansman served as an advisor on Corbyn’s leadership campaign and was the only registered Director of the Jeremy Corbyn Campaign 2015 (Supporters) Ltd. He has also served on the NEC. Lansman stepped down as Momentum’s Chairman in July 2020. Speaking of Corbyn’s response to the EHRC investigation into anti-Semitism Lansman stated “I wasn’t happy with the words that Jeremy used,” however “I also disagree strongly with his suspension.” Lansman is a former editor on the website Left Futures. Other contributors mentioned in this article are Michael Meacher, Manuel Cortes, Kate Hudson, Owen Jones, Billy Hayes, Liz Davies and Andrew Murray.
Adam Klug is a former teacher and youth worker. As well as founding Momentum he was head of National Volunteer Mobilization for Corbyn’s 2016 leadership campaign. Klug stepped down as national coordinator in 2017. He now works as a Senior Advisor for the Social Practice. Becky Bond is a co-founder of Social Practice, she was a Senior Advisor on the Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential campaign and co-authored the book ‘Rules For Revolutionaries’. Zack Malitz is the other founder of Social Practice. He was a Field Director on Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign. Jo Beardsmore is another Senior Advisor and co-founder of UK Uncut.
Emma Rees Is also a former primary school teacher. She was Director of Programming of the Jeremy For Labour campaign. She is now a Senior Advisor for the political strategy firm Social Practice. Rees also stepped down as national coordinator of Momentum in 2017.
James Schneider was a founder and Press Officer for Momentum. He served as Jeremy Corbyn’s Director of Strategic Communications whilst he was leader of the Labour Party. He is a former Editor in Chief of the Think Africa Press and is a Senior Correspondent at the new African Magazine. He is currently a Communications Advisor at Progressive International. Members of the Advisory Council of Progressive International include John McDonnell, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky.
Elizabeth Hayden is a director of Momentum Ltd and has served as a member of the National Coordinating Group. She is a Labour Councillor and Unite the Union activist.
Anthony Kearns is a director of Momentum and is Senior Deputy General Secretary of the CWU. He encouraged members of the CWU to vote for affiliation with Momentum.
Samuel Tarry is a Labour MP and former Press Spokesman for Corbyn’s 2015 leadership campaign. He is a former official at the TSSA and former President of Centre for Labour and Social Studies think-tank (CLASS). Other advisors and staff of CLASS mentioned elsewhere in this article include Manuel Cortes, Laura Pidcock, John Hendy, Andrew Murray, Chris Kitchen, Len McCluskey, Dave Ward and Mick Whelan. Oh and Owen Jones again! Tarry supported Rebecca Long-Bailey against Starmer.
Professor Cecile Wright is a co-chair of Momentum and an elected CLP representative on the Labour National Constitution Committee. She is a Chair of Momentum Black Caucus and co-founder of Labour Black Network.
Momentum state that they are predominantly crowdfunded by members. The only registered donors are Pim Piers and the TSSA. Momentum also declare on their website financial support from the CWU and BFAWU.
We believe that Pim Piers previously stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate in council elections and up until 2020 donated exclusively to the Lib Dems (£136,900). His only donations in 2020 were to Momentum. We are curious as to why a Liberal Democrat donor would suddenly switch affiliation and invest heavily in a left-wing Labour pressure group.
Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) also donated to Corbyn (see below).
Momentum donated directly to Rebecca Long-Baily and Apsana Begum. They also contributed loans to Rebecca Long-Bailey and Jeremy Corbyn. The loan to Corbyn has now been converted to a donation on his Register of Interests.
TRANSPORT SALARIED STAFF ASSOCIATION– £13,705
Trade Union whose General Secretary is Manuel Cortes. He endorsed Jeremy Corbyn and was a signatory of the letter we discuss below, condemning Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party. He is on the National Advisory Panel of CLASS, President of the Greece Solidarity Campaign and a contributor to Left Futures. The TSSA backed Starmer for leader in 2020 for his commitment to a return Britain’s railways to public ownership. Sam Tarry is a former TSSA official.
TSSA have donated to Momentum, Angela Eagle and Sadiq Khan as well as Labour.
UNITE THE UNION- £141,618
Major supporters of Jeremy Corbyn under the leadership of General Secretary Len McCluskey. He is supported by the dominant United Left faction within the union. He also supported the Militant Tendency but was never a member. Unite provided office space for Corbyn’s leadership campaign in 2016. McCluskey is on the Advisory Panel of CLASS. Momentum encouraged its members to join Unite to support the re-election of McCluskey for General Secretary. McCluskey ordered a review into Unite’s donations to the Labour Party under the leadership of Keir Starmer. McCluskey is a signatory of the letter mentioned elsewhere signed by union leaders condemning Starmer’s suspension of Jeremy Corbyn. He will stand down in 2021 and the race to succeed him is seen as integral to dictating the relationship the union has with Labour under Starmer and the significant support he may win or lose.
Andrew Murray is Chief of Staff at Unite. He was seconded from Unite to serve as a Special Advisor to Jeremy Corbyn from 2017 to 2020. He is a former Chair of the Stop the War Coalition and contributor to the Morning Star and Tribune. Former member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. He is on the Management Committee of CLASS. He is a contributor to Left Futures.
Unite also donated directly to Rebecca Long-Bailey and Richard Burgon as well as the Labour Party.
FIRE BRIGADES UNION (FBU) – £20,000
Disaffiliated from Labour in 2004 in protest at Tony Blair’s leadership. Reaffiliated in 2015 in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Andrew Scattersgood is the West Midlands Regional Secretary of the FBU and also a co-chair of Momentum. FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack was one of the Union Leaders that signed a letter to Keir Starmer condemning the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, stating:
“We speak as the leaders of unions representing working people who desperately need a Labour government. We cannot comprehend why the leadership would not only compromise the opportunity to unite our party behind the implementation of the EHRC’s important recommendations so that they can be taken forward with the members’ full trust and confidence, but also undermine our party’s democratic processes and, ultimately, our party unity.”
Other signatories were: Mick Whelan of ASLEF, Sarah Woolley and Ian Hodson of BFAWU, Dave Ward of CWU, Chris Kitchen of NUM (also an advisor at CLASS), Manuel Cortes of TSSA and Len McCluskey of Unite.
As well as Jeremy Corbyn the FBU have donated to the Labour Party, Jo Stevens MP and Grahame Morris MP. They also donated to Kate Hoey.
MATTHEW WRACK – £7,000
Former fireman and current General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and has sat on the TUC. He is also an official affiliate of Momentum. He was an editor of Flame, a bulletin produced by supporters of Militant within the Fire Service. He is Chair of the Labour Representation Committee and is a key figure in the newly formed grassroots Labour movement called Don’t Leave, Organise (see below).
Wrack endorsed Rebecca Long-Bailey for leader against Keir Starmer and described his involvement in the 2016 leadership challenge thus:
“We’ve got a carefully coordinated coup planned to create the most damage. What an utter disgrace these people are…There are questions that both Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy have to answer. They both participated in that attempt to force Corbyn from office and thereby undermine the decision that Labour Party members took.”
Matt Wrack donated to the Labour Party and Corbyn’s Leadership campaign.
JANE DEIGHTON – £2780
Another of Priti Patel’s “lefty” Civil Rights lawyers and founding partner of Deighton Pierce Glynn. Her only registered donation is to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign. Deighton focuses on cases involving police failures helping the victims of crimes and deaths in custody. She is also concerned with representing the victims of sex and race discrimination and is a founding member of the Police Actions Lawyers Group. Member of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.
Deighton was involved in an employment tribunal that ruled almost all SPADs hired by Tony Blair’s government had been recruited through an “illegal” process. She is part of the legal team currently representing the victims at the Undercover Policing Inquiry chaired by Sir John Mitting. One of the victims (represented by another QC) is Piers Corbyn, wayward brother of Jeremy. Deighton is representing the family of Rolan Adams, Duwayne Brooks OBE and Ken Livingstone.
Deighton published an article in May 2020 in response to the Conservative Government’s guidance for PPE. The article was co-authored with Lord John Hendy QC.
BARON JOHN HENDY QC – £3440
Former head of Old Square Chambers. Christened “the barrister champion of the trade union movement”, he is an expert in UK labour legislation, frequently representing Unite, ASLEF, RMT and the National Union of Mineworkers. He is the current Head of the government’s Union Connectivity Review. Hendy is on the Management Committee of CLASS.
Hendy represented the National Union of Journalists at the Leveson inquiry into Phone Hacking and in this capacity was able to cross-examine Rupert Murdoch. Hendy is a former candidate for the NO2EU Party. His brother is Sir Peter Hendy, head of Network Rail and former Chief of Transport for London.
The NO2EU Party are now the rebranded Trade Unions Against The EU. NO2EU were primarily funded by the RMT, Solidarity and the Communist Party of Britain and were a Eurosceptic left-wing campaign Group led by Bob Crow. Bob Crow was the General Secretary of the RMT and council member of the TUC. Political bobo doll Tommy Sheridan also stood as a NO2EU candidate. Dave Nellist is another notable member who was formerly affiliated with Militant.
NATIONAL UNION OF RAIL, MARITIME AND TRANSPORT WORKERS (RMT) – £50,000
Current General Secretary is Mick Cash. Former General Secretary was Bob Crow. Affiliated to the Labour Representation Committee. RMT and Mick Cash supported Brexit.
Mick Cash is a former NEC member and Labour Councillor. He has also announced his intention to step down as leader.
RMT also donated to the Labour Party and Ian Mearns MP. Also donated to Trade Unionists against the European Union NO2EU.
JBC DEFENCE LTD – Corbyn may receive financial settlements from defamation cases contested by this company.
A new company defending defamation claims against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Corbyn states in his register of interests “I am likely to benefit from a legal fund managed by JBC Defence Ltd which was set up on 16 October 2020 to help meet any legal costs which I or my supporters incur in relation to allegations of defamation.” It was established to manage the donations from the “Jeremy’s Legal Fund” Go-Fund me campaign, started by Carole Morgan.
The (unpaid) Directors are Elizabeth Davies, Andrew Gregg and Carole Morgan. Elizabeth “Liz” Davies is a lawyer specialising in housing having advised both Crisis and Shelter. She is an author and activist. Former NEC member. Former Chair of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. Unite member. Contributor to Tribune, and Left Futures and a member of Momentum.
Andy Gregg is the Chief Executive of Race on the Agenda. He is a former trustee on the Refugee Council and Refugee Action.
Carole Morgan states the fund is affiliated to TruthDefence.org, a collective of activists, lawyers and journalists “concerned about the spread of misinformation online.” Founders are Dr Justin Schlosberg and Andrew Feinstein. Both are members of the Labour Party and are launching a legal challenge to the EHRC ruling.
COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION (CWU) – £50, 249
Affiiated with Momentum. General Secretary is Dave Ward. Former General Secretary is Billy Hayes. Tony Kearns is Senior Deputy Secretary General.
Dave Ward is a former NEC member and has served as co-chair of Stand Up to Racism. Initial signatories of the Stand Up to Racism manifesto include: Diane Abbott, Billy Hayes, Bob Crow, Dave Prentis, Ronnie Draper, Jon Lansman, Kate Hudson, Len McCluskey, Manuel Cortes, Matt Wrack and Owen Jones. Ward was a signatory of the Union letter to Starmer condemning his suspension of Jeremy Corbyn. Ward is on the National Advisory Panel of CLASS as is Ronnie Draper.
Tony Kearns is also a registered Director of Momentum.
CWU also donated to Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Raynor and Sadiq Khan as well as the Labour Party.
CAMPAIGN FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT – £859
Sponsored Jeremy Corbyn to attend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee at the UN as a representative. It is a not for profit organisation founded to promote the unilateral international disarmament of all nuclear weapons and more stringent international regulations on the arms trade.
Current Chairman is Dave Webb who is a convener of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. He is Vice President of the International Peace Bureau. Kate Hudson is the current Vice Chair of CND. She is a contributor to Left Futures and is currently the treasurer of Left Unity, the alternative left-wing party endorsed by Ken Loach. Vice Chair Carol Turner is identified as an affiliate on the Momentum website and is vice chair of Labour CND.
GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL – £476
Founder Michael Eavis CBE invited Jeremy Corbyn to speak at the Festival in 2017. He is a former member of the National Union of Mineworkers and was involved with the CND, which was officially affiliated with the Festival during the 80s. He is a former Labour Party General Election candidate.
ASSOCIATED SOCIETY OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS AND FIREMEN (Donations are registered for both the full name and the abbreviation ASLEF) -£20,000
Current General Secretary is Mick Whelan. Mick Whelan is a signatory of the Union letter to Starmer. He is on the National Advisory panel of CLASS. Dave Gould is Head of Policy and Communication at ASLEF and also an advisor at CLASS.
ASLEF donated to the Labour Party, Andy McDonald, Mark Drakeford and Tom Watson
DR IBRAHIM HAMAMI – £2,000
GP and founder of the Palestinian Affairs Centre. He was described as a critic of the Oslo Peace Accords and a supporter of Hamas by The Daily Mail, The Times and The Telegraph. Only registered donation is to Corbyn’s 2015 leadership campaign.
PROFESSOR E T HONDERICH – £5,000
Former professor of philosophy and author of several books including ‘After the Terror and Humanity, Terrorism, Terrorist War: Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7/7….’
He has been criticised for his views on Israel’s treatment of Palestine and the Palestinians. In a 2006 interview he asked “is there some better way than terrorism? I don’t think so. Terrorism is necessary. They (the Palestinians) have no alternative”. He defended himself saying “I have always gone on record as a supporter of the right of the state of Israel to exist. That’s why the Palestinians are opposed to me. What I don’t support is Israel’s expansionism after the 1967 war.”
The Jewish Chronicle stated that ”a spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: ‘The donation was made but Jeremy does not agree with his statements on terrorism. Jeremy is opposed to the use of violence.”
SAVE SHAKER AAMER CAMPAIGN – £1984
Registered by Jeremy Corbyn as sponsoring a trip for his “advocacy on behalf of British detainee Shaker Aamer in Guantanamo Bay”. Shaker Aamer is a British national and charity worker who was kidnapped by bounty hunters in Afghanistan in 2001 and held without charge for 13 years in Guantanamo Bay. After many years of high profile campaigning he was released without charge in September 2015.
LOBBY AND MP GROUPS
DON’T LEAVE, ORGANISE is a new campaign group whose mission statement declares:
“The loss of the General Election, the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn, and the defeat of the left in the NEC elections, together constitute a major setback. But we are not defeated.”
The founding organisers of the statement are Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Representation Committee and Red Labour Red Britain.
Jewish Voice for Labour are an organisation within Labour representing the views of a section of the party’s Jewish members. They express solidarity with the plight of the Palestinians and state “we oppose attempts to widen the definition of antisemitism beyond its meaning of hostility towards or discrimination against Jews as Jews.” Co-Chairs are Jenny Manson and Leah Levane.
Jenny Manson is a former Labour councillor for Barnet and retired Civil Servant who has been an activist for Palestinian rights for many years. Leah Levane is a Labour councillor, former Head of Communications for Lambeth Council and has served as an Ecumenical observer and fundraiser for EAPPI. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel is an organisation that deploys observers to key flashpoints between Palestinians and Israeli forces to observe and report on the interaction. In the UK it is overseen by the Quakers and supported by The Church of England.
The Labour Representation Committee is covered below.
Red Labour Red Britain are a Socialist campaign group of Labour members whose stated aim is “Collectively, we advocate a clear socialist policy orientation in the Party, we are proud of Labour’s socialist traditions and we have been working together since 2011 to revitalise grassroots socialism within the Party.” There is corroborative information as to who founded or is responsible for leadership of the group on their website. Red Labour has two directors officially registered here.
Alex Halligan was a senior advisor on both Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 campaign and Rebecca Long-Bailey’s campaign for Labour leader. He is a Trustee of The Working Class Movement Library. He is affiliated with both Momentum and Unite. The Times and Daily Mail claimed Halligan was a Stalinist for wearing a badge depicting the assassination of Trotsky at a Miners gathering.
Max Shanly is an organiser in Momentum and a lead advisor on Jeremy Corbyn’s 2016 leadership campaign. He is a former member of the Labour Youth National Policy Forum and has contributed to Tribune. He was one of two students identified by the Telegraph and Daily Mail as key figures in the Oxford University Labour Club investigated for Anti-Semitism in the report compiled by Baroness Royall we mentioned above.
Founding signatories of Don’t Leave, Organise include: John McDonnell MP, Laura Pidcock, Matt Wrack, Ronnie Draper, Sarah Woolley, Ian Hodson and Andrew Scattergood of Momentum.
Don’t Leave, Organise endorsed the candidates from GRASSROOTS VOICE in the NEC Elections. These included Laura Pidcock and Gemma Bolton. Grassroots Voice claim:
“The Labour Party has to tackle the failures of the rigged system head-on. That means embracing transformative socialist ideas that have massive public support and building a movement that can challenge the power of the billionaires and their bought-and-paid-for political elites.”
The Grassroots Voice movement was also endorsed by: Momentum, Jewish Voice for Labour, Red Labour, Labour Representation Committee and the Labour Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
THE LABOUR REPRESENTATION COMMITTEE is a Socialist campaign group of MP’s and members within the Labour Party. Current President is John McDonnell and the Chair is Matt Wrack. Jeremy Corbyn is an official affiliated MP. Other affiliates include ASLEF, BFAWU, CWU, FBU, NUM AND RMT.
THE SOCIALIST CAMPAIGN GROUP is a splinter group from the original Labour Tribune Group mentioned above. In 1981 Tribunite members of the Labour Party, led by Neil Kinnock, refused to endorse Tony Benn’s candidacy for deputy leader as they regarded him as too left-wing. Bennite supporters then formed their own caucus to advance a more radical socialist agenda within the Party. Corbyn joined the group when he was first elected in 1983.
In 2015 the decision for Corbyn to run for leadership was made at a meeting of the SCG. The SCG has close ties with Momentum. As well as Corbyn, current members we’ve mentioned in this article include Rebecca Long-Bailey, Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Ian Mearns, Sam Tarry and John McDonnell. Former members include Reg Race, Dave Nellist, Michael Meacher and Laura Pidcock. Margaret Beckett resigned from the group in protest in 1988.
“The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour, we achieve more than we achieve alone so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.”
This the current wording of the oft vexed Clause IV of the Labour Party constitution.
Those steeped in Labour history will be well aware of past factional struggles within the party, symbolically rendered in the conflict over Clause IV. It’s infamous re-constitution under Tony Blair’s leadership was seen to mark the transition from Old Labour, committed under the previous Clause IV to policies like common ownership of industry, to the New Labour brand.
The fault-lines that the debate over Clause IV has exposed historically within Labour are the same that divide the Party now. There are those of us on the Left that believe Labour is the party for those that labour. It is a party founded on specific and stated Socialist values and on a commitment to delivering Socialist policies as a political party. On our spectrum, traditionally, historically, politically, ideologically, Labour IS the Left-wing, not a party that HAS a Left-wing.
The research in our report strongly suggests that Sir Keir Starmer, funded by the same millionaires and Peers as Blair – the same infrastructure of persuasion of Blairite think-tanks and pressure groups – is engaged in a similar process of defining a brand more palatable to corporate interests.
Starmer and his donors appear to like the sanitised, electorally neutral and neutered Labour brand, not the Socialist, progressive product Labour returned to under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
The current Clause IV states that Labour stands for “a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few”.
But how can you attack and dismantle a system where power, wealth and opportunity are concentrated in the hands of a few, and those hands are the ones underwriting your leadership?
Our research shows that Sir Keir Starmer is funded by establishment peers who perpetuate and benefit from a system of unelected power. He is funded by millionaires and Chief Executives that have amassed obscene wealth exploiting the labour of others. With shameless hypocrisy they publicly attack Len McCluskey and Unite for re-directing funding to grassroots movements and yet the majority of Starmer’s donors withdrew financial support for Labour under Corbyn.
Starmer is funded by those that are used to using money and wealth as a weapon to satisfy personal interests and private wealth. They understand the word opportunity as meaning a chance to feed your shareholder’s bank accounts, not the chance to feed your family. They understand the world in terms of investment and what you get in return for the vast sums of money they’ve contributed.
These are the same donors who have actively fomented disunity and discord within the party since 2015, as the interconnections between Starmer/Owen Smith funders and those groups who publicly spoke out against Corbyn show. They revive the divisive rhetoric and authoritarian tactics of the past to privately purge what they perceive as a radical Left element. And yet publicly they call for unity from this same Left that they believe does not belong in their Socialist party?
Can a Socialism defined and endorsed by Capital be regarded as Socialism?
Can a Socialism embedded in and led by an establishment apparatchik be regarded as Socialism?
Can a Socialism defined by counter-revolution be regarded as Socialism?
CALL TO ARMS
We ask you should Labour be defined by:
Those that side with the Landlords or those that side with the tenants?
Those who received more money from the owners than from the workers?
Those with titles who received more from unelected Lords and Peers than Trade Unions?
Those that defend the oppressors or those that defend the oppressed?
Should Labour be led by principles of plutocracy or democracy?
What Should Labour stand for?
What will you stand for?
SIR KEIR STARMER – REMAINING DONORS
RICHARD HERMER is a QC at the Matrix Chambers specialising in Human Rights and cases have included litigation from the Iraq War, Guantanamo Bay and extraordinary renditions. He has no other donations registered.
PHILLIPPA KAUFMANN is also another of who Priti Patel’s sneeringly refers to as “lefty” Human Rights lawyer based at the Matrix Chambers with extensive experience challenging central Government bodies such as the Department of Justice, the Home Office and the Police. No other donations registered.
PETER DROUSSIOTIS is a Pro-EU businessman, former barrister and founder of corporate finance and strategy firm PGD Strategy. He is Chairman of the UK-Cyprus Business Council and Vice Chairman for Labour Business. He has only donated to Starmer directly since 2010.
ALEXANDER MICHAEL SILVERLEAF is a QC specialising in Intellectual Property legislation.
He donated to Owen Smith’s leadership challenge.
HELEN ROWE there is no info available regarding this donor aside from in 2018 she donated £10,000 to the Labour Tribune Group of MP’s which we have covered above.
ALEXANDER GRAHAM has no corroborative info available online. He made no other registered donations.
JONATHAN LEVY has no available corroborative information to confirm his identity. Only other registered donation was to the Labour Party in 2014.
CROWNHAWK PROPERTIES LTD is a company run by Rod Lloyd who Starmer travelled to meet in January of 2020. One of Crownhawk’s staff was seconded to Starmer’s team for the duration of Starmer’s leadership campaign. They have no other registered donations.
MANCUNIAN WAY PROPERTIES LLP has no corroborative information available. Only registered donation is to Keir Starmer.
CONSTRUCTION AND PROPERTY SOLUTIONS LTD no corroborative information available. Only registered donation is to Keir Starmer.
NEERAJ PATIL is a former Labour Mayor of Lambeth Borough, former executive committee member of BAME Labour and is an A&E Consultant. He failed to be elected in the most recent NEC committee ballot. In his campaign he stated that Labour representatives “have a responsibility to put our own house in order and reconnect with real British priorities if the electorate is to entrust their wellbeing to us again.” His only registered donations are to Keir Starmer.
ALAN MACDOUGALL we believe is the founder of PIRC, a “global proxy services provider” whatever that is. He’s a former head of London Council Financial Institutions Unit and worked for the National Union of Mineworkers in the 80s. He incurred the wrath of everyone’s favourite Brexit hollow clown Tim Martin after criticising Wetherspoon’s spending of £95, 000 on pro-Brexit beer maps.
Caroline Flint received donations from Alan MacDougall for her 2015 deputy leadership bid.
KHALIDOSCOPE SERVICES LTD. Director is Khalid Mahmood Ahmed who is a previous Labour candidate in Cheadle local elections. The only registered donation is to Keir Starmer.
SANYA POLESCUK is an award-winning architect. She has no other registered donations.
IAIN SIMPSON is a Labour Councillor in Lambeth and Trustee of The Fawcett Society. Former Labour parliamentary candidate and member of Labour Small Business Task Force. Formerly seconded to office of Chuka Umunna MP. Also donated to Angela Raynor but not the Labour Party.
RYAN TURNER is difficult to corroborate. There is a Barrister at Maitland Chambers who specialises in Corporate Law. He is quoted in this 2019 Financial Times article as an advisor to the Common Wealth think-tank around their proposed Labour policy, supported by John McDonnell, to hand a percentage of companies shares to the workers. Common Wealth includes amongst their board members Ed Miliband and Aditya Chakrabortty. Ryan Turner has made no other registered donations.
GILES WRIGHT is another elusive donor that is difficult to corroborate beyond speculation. There is a prolific letter writer, Giles Wright of WC1 who, in various publications, attacks Corbyn and defends Starmer. There is also a Giles Wright registered as a Vice President of The Fabian Society, Britain’s oldest think-tank who offered their congratulations to Keir Starmer and Angela Raynor upon their Leadership appointments. Both are members of the Fabian Society. Giles Wright has donated to Keir Starmer and the Labour Party.
IAN ZILBERKWEIT is a former Director at HSBC Corporate Finance Group and now a Board Member at Daily Bread Group. He was appointed to the Labour Party Industrial Strategy Working Group by Ed Miliband. His only registered donation is to Keir Starmer.
TRUST RESERVATIONS LTD provided accommodation for Starmer and his staff on official party business. Their Director is Farah Sassoon. She describes herself as a ”fundraising ambassador” for the Labour Party. She is an associate of Sally Bercow, wife of John Bercow who authorised Sassoon to receive a Parliamentary Pass.
Trust Reservations have also funded Tom Watson, Yvette Cooper and John Bercow.
LABOUR FRIENDS OF BANGLADESH sponsored Starmer to visit Dhaka “to meet political leaders and Bangladeshis with connections in my constituency, in order to strengthen the ties between our two countries”. Chairman is Howard Dawber and other members include Jon Ashworth.
HOWARD DAWBER is the Chair of Labour Friends of Bangladesh and Managing Director of the Canary Wharf Group. He is a former Labour Party Council candidate and former Chair of the Young Fabians. He was a regular donor to the Labour Party until 2014.
THE BRITISH OFFICE TAIPEI sponsored Starmer to travel to Taiwan “to meet political leaders, Ministry of Justice, judges and prosecutors, and civil society in Taiwan, specifically on the issue of the death penalty, human rights and criminal justice reform.”
SIMONS MUIRHEAD AND BURTON are a legal firm that paid Starmer £3,200 for legal advice he gave them as part of the trip to Taipei for The Death Penalty Project which is housed and funded by SM&B. Estimated hours worked were 10.
RAJESH AGRAWAL is the Deputy Mayor of London for Business, an entrepreneur and Trustee of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. He is a former Co- Chairman of Labour Friends of India. His only other registered donation is to Angela Raynor.
DCD LONDON AND MUTUAL PLC is an investment management company. The Managing Director is Faisal Randeree. He is also Chairman of Football For Peace UK. Other recipients of his patronage include Ed Davey, Rosena Allin-Khan, Chuka Umunna, Tom Watson and Andy Burnham. He resumed donating to Labour after Corbyn had announced his resignation.
JEREMY CORBYN – REMAINING DONORS
HANS GEORG-TILLMAN is a barrister and SPD activist in Germany. He gifted a first edition of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty to Jeremy Corbyn who then donated it to a museum. Tillman declined to comment on the gift.
JANE MOORES has no verifiable presence on social media or the internet to corroborate identity. She has donated to Corbyn’s 2016 leadership bid and to the Labour Party.
THOMPSONS SOLICITORS LLP were registered by Jeremy Corbyn for “the provision of catering at the Leader of the Opposition’s reception for trade unionists” in January 2016. As a firm they specialise in Personal Injury cases and Trade Union Legislation. They won over £10 Million in compensation for blacklisted UNITE members.
Thompson’s have also donated to the Labour Party and Gloria Del Piero.
CASSANDRA “CASSIE” FOX is the founder of Loud Women, a non-profit organisation established to help promote and support women in the music industry. She also contributes to independent music site Louder Than War which was founded by punk author and journalist John Robb. Cassie Fox only registered donation is to Jeremy Corbyn’ 2015 campaign.
[i] Original sources from The Electoral Commission and TheyWorkForYou.com for all registered donations and interests available here and here. All individuals and organisations have been cross-referenced. All but three entities (Robert Lantham, Simons, Muirhead & Burton and British Taipei Office) are registered on the EC as donating before January 2020, thus before Starmer was challenging Corbyn for Leader.
[ii] If we look at the EC site there are donations from a Kate, Catherine and Katherine Gavron to Starmer, the Labour Party after Corbyn’s resignation and to Yvette Cooper’s leadership bid. We are logically arguing these are the same person!
[iii] Original sources from The Electoral Commission and TheyWorkForYou.com for all registered donations and interests available here and here. All individuals and organisations have been cross-referenced.