Stevenage’s Labour candidate accepts Tony Blair’s cash donation ahead of general election
- Credit: AP
Stevenage’s Labour Party candidate has come under fire from political opponents for accepting a £1,000 donation from former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor, who will be hoping to unseat sitting Tory MP Stephen McPartland in May’s general election, is one of a number of candidates in target seats who have accepted the cash to boost her campaign.
She said this week: “I am very grateful to everyone who has supported my election campaign and was delighted to be one of the candidates who received a generous donation from Tony Blair.
“It is another clear indication of the commitment of the Labour Party to deliver a strong, local, Labour MP for my home town.
“I think it is entirely up to individual candidates whether they accept the donation.”
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Labour Party candidates who have taken the decision to hand back their donations from the former Prime Minister include Gloucester candidate Sophie Gardner and Sally Keeble, who is standing for election in Northampton North.
Other candidates across the country have refused to accept the cash, which has been given to help fight for swing seats, citing the former Premier’s connections with the Iraq war and dubbing it “blood money”.
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The Green Party’s Stevenage candidate Graham White, who is financing his campaign with an internet fundraising drive, said: “I don’t think this is Green Party policy, but in my opinion the sooner Tony Blair is on trial at The Hague for war crimes the better.
“Anyone who accepts money from him is showing just how low the principles and morals of the current Labour Party has sunk.”
Mr White, a self-employed medical herbalist, raised £1,000 via crowdfunder.co.uk to pay for a leaflet campaign and his deposit.
Stevenage TUSC MP candidate Trevor Palmer said: “In our eyes £1,000 is a huge donation, the biggest we normally get is about £100. It is usually £20 here or a fiver there.
“I would not accept a donation from him given his track record but I am not surprised that she accepted it.”
He said his run for Parliament was being funded by the TUSC, members of the public, colleagues and supporters.