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Thursday, September 20, 2018
Clegg dragged into fundraising row

Clegg dragged into fundraising row

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Nick Clegg has been dragged into the row over fundraising activities by the Liberal Democrats.

The Deputy Prime Minister is said to have suggested that a donor could stagger his gifts to the party over two years – seemingly to avoid having his name put in the public domain.

The latest allegations from a sting operation by Channel 4’s Dispatches come after Lord Strasburger resigned the party whip pending an Electoral Commission investigation.

The peer – who denies any wrongdoing – was filmed apparently advising an undercover donor how to channel gifts through his “stepfather”.

The new footage reportedly shows Mr Clegg and Lord Strasburger with entrepreneur Paul Wilmott, who had agreed to help with the programme’s investigation, at a reception in Bath.

The peer is seen telling the Liberal Democrat leader: “Paul is trying to find a way to support us without sticking his head too far above the parapet and we’re working out how to involve his family in making donations.”

Mr Clegg replies: “A very useful thing as well, it’s not a financial year calendar it’s an end of year calendar, so you can do things either side.

“But thank you very much for the support you give, it is much needed and will be very well used.”

According to electoral law a party must identify donors if they give a political party more than £7,500 in a calendar year.

It is illegal to attempt to deceive the commission about the source of a donation.

A Lib Dem statement said Mr Clegg had “behaved entirely correctly” and stressed that senior members of every political party attended fundraising events and assisted in raising money.

“It is perfectly normal when presented with someone who is considering making a donation to explain the rules as you state Nick Clegg did in your film,” the statement said.

The statement added that the party had run the “usual compliance checks” on the gift and concluded it was from an eligible donor.

“The Federal Party had no reason to believe that the donation was made other than by the person named on the cheque,” it said.

:: Channel 4 Dispatches is being shown tomorrow at 8pm.

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