Labour Together Watch: The Donors

I do not represent the big bosses at the top. I represent the people at the bottom, the individual men and women …

Nye Bevan

Labour Together state on their website that “we are not a membership body or a faction so we are funded by donations small and large from activists, trade unions and members who recognise our network needs to exist.”

But as we have already discovered, the group has been funded by only two private individuals since 2019, Trevor Chinn and Martin Taylor. Just these two wealthy men have donated over £400,000 to Labour Together in 2 years. In this post we give a brief recap of our profiles of Chinn and Taylor from the introduction, then we introduce you to the other “activists, trade unions and members” who combined have given Labour Together over £1 Million since 2015.

Can Labour Together really claim to represent the men and women at the bottom and not the big bosses at the top?

“Activists, Trade Unions and Members”

Sir Trevor Chinn is a millionaire entrepreneur and long-term donor to the Labour Party. He 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 and is currently listed as a Director of Labour Together. He is a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council, and a former Chairman of the London Mayor’s Fund, appointed by Boris Johnson.

Chinn has served as President of the United Jewish Israel Appeal and on the Executive Committee of BICOM. He is a Trustee of the New Israel Fund as well as sponsoring both Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel Parliamentary Groups.

Chinn historically has donated over £840,000 to Labour entities, including substantial funds to anti-Corbyn pressure groups Labour Together, Remain Labour, Saving Labour and Movement For Change as well as MP’s including Angela Raynor, Tom Watson, Ian Austin, Wes Streeting and Rachel Reeves. He gave £27,000 to Owen Smith’s Leadership bid, and £50,000 to Keir Starmer.

Total donated to Labour Together since 2015: £265,500.

Martin Taylor is a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager and significant Labour donor since Ed Miliband’s tenure. He penned this article in The Independent outlining the apparent incongruity between his profession and his political beliefs. Recipients of his patronage include Angela Raynor, Labour Together, Saving Labour, Labour Tomorrow and Dan Jarvis MP.

He also donated £95,000(!) directly to Keir Starmer’s leadership bid. Total donated to Labour Together since 2015: £850,492.

Lord Clive Hollick is a 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. Hollick co-founded the New Labour think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

Hollick and his wife are registered variously as donating £50,000 to Keir Starmer, as well as sums to David Lammy, Liz Kendall and £7,500 to Owen Smith’s leadership campaign.

Single donation to Labour Together: £10,000.

Sir Paul Myners is the former Chairman of the Guardian Media Group and Marks & Spencers. He has also served on the Board of the Rothschild’s owned RIT Capital Partners Ltd. He was Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury under Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Myners is a director of the strategy firm Edelman where other senior staff have included Chuka Umunna, Anji Hunter and Luciana Berger. Myners also, you guessed it, donated £10,000 to Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign.

Single donation to Labour Together: £25,000.

Simon Tuttle is a former senior executive in private equity and is now a trustee of Reprieve and Chair of Hope Not Hate. Has been donating to Labour since 2017, most recently £20,000 to Lisa Nandy in 2020.

Single donation to Labour Together: £10,000.

Richard Greer is an investment banker and Non-Exec Chairman of Myanmar strategic Holdings Ltd. Not much is publicly known about Greer but he has been donating to Labour since at least 2007.

Two donations to Labour Together totalling £10,000.

Sean Wadsworth is a co-founder and former Chief Executive at Nigel Frank International which was purchased in a multi-million pound deal by the backers of Spotify and Airbnb. Wadsworth is the current Chair of W Series that promotes and organises female motorsport competitions. Again he does not have much of an online footprint. Apart from Labour Together his only other registered donations were to Owen Smith’s leadership campaign.

Single donation to Labour Together: £10,000.

In total these seven men have donated £1,175,992 to Labour Together since 2015. These would be the “large” donations. But what about the “small”?

There is no Electoral Commission record of any other individuals, organisations or public/private entities of any description having donated to Labour Together. Ever. Labour Together do not disclose details of what amounts of funding they have received from any other sources, so it is impossible to say what the respective percentages of their total annual income are made up by “small” and “large” donations.

The author (who is currently a Labour member) attempted to contact Labour Together Directors Hannah O’Rourke, Lisa Nandy MP, Jon Cruddas MP and Steve Reed MP and asked for comment on the following questions:

1. Since 2015, Labour Together has registered over £1M in donations received with the Electoral Commission, but has registered only £40k in donations made. This year alone, LT has received over £200k and donated £13k.

Could you provide me with a breakdown/explanation as to what political/administrative/campaign costs the organisation has that explains the deficit between received and spent, and that requires such substantial, regular donations?

2. On its website Labour Together states that it is funded by “activists, trade unions and members”. The Electoral Commission has only 7 individuals registered as funding LT since 2015, all of whom are extremely wealthy long term patrons of the Labour Party. 

Could you clarify if these individuals are what the organisation is referring to as “activists” and/or “members”? Could you also identify which trade unions have provided funding, and how much they contributed?

3. Since 2019, Labour Together have registered donations worth over £400k from just two private individuals, Trevor Chinn and Martin Taylor.

Could you comment on the level of influence and involvement in LT decision making (regarding policy, spending, political support, campaigning etc) that Trevor Chinn and/or Martin Taylor have?

We have yet to receive a reply.

To clarify, none of Labour Together’s financial activity is in any way corrupt or illegal, but the question remains as to what ideological reasons seven hugely wealthy private donors are willing to invest such large amounts because they feel the Labour Together “network needs to exist”.

Can Labour Together, solely funded by seven “big bosses at the top” really claim to represent the rest of us?