The businessman at the centre of the "Donorgate" row received beneficial planning status from the Government just weeks after he gave the Labour Party more than £100,000 in concealed donations. David Abrahams's controversial plan for a business park at Bowburn in County Durham was put on a pilot scheme designed to speed the planning process and cut the costs of the application, it can be revealed.
Well I never.
The Sunday Telegraph has also learnt that the police inquiry launched last week will examine a decision by Douglas Alexander, then the secretary of state for transport, to approve a new £11.4 million road close to Mr Abrahams's development. The decision was made soon after Mr Abrahams's proxy donations were made in 2005. The 2.5-mile road would greatly improve access to Mr Abrahams's site.
Carol Woods, the deputy leader of Durham City Council, has referred the matter to the police. "Plans for this road had been around a long time but hadn't been going anywhere because the money for it hadn't been around. Then all of a sudden, when Mr Abrahams is giving money to the Labour Party and trying to develop a business park, it is revived and approved by the Government," she said.
A spokesman for Mr Abrahams last night said that there was no connection between any of the donations and the two individual announcements.
Who would possibly think that ?
More from North of the Border :
One of Labour’s biggest donors was able secretly to channel more than £300,000 into the party’s election funds through an Islamic lobby group that hid his identity. Inquiries by The Sunday Times have established that Imran Khand, a 43-year-old computer entrepreneur, was behind three large donations to the party earlier this year.
But his name was never disclosed to the Electoral Commission, which regulates party funding, because the money was given in the name of Muslim Friends of Labour, a lobby group. Separately, Harriet Harman’s deputy leadership campaign registered a £5,000 donation from Muslim Friends, when the cash was almost entirely from Moham-mad Sarwar, the Labour MP who runs the group.
I thought a bag of cash was Mr Sarwar's modus operandi. This does rather put the kybosh on the 'Jewish Gold' theories that have been drifting around. Maybe they just want money, no matter what the source.
UPDATE - Sam Tarran :
This, it seems, is an essential difference between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. Labour has to "dig up dirt" on the Tories. The Tories just have to wait for Labour to hand their dirt over.