Livingstone’s position is looking increasingly precarious as any residual reputation for integrity or political probity are damaged further by his decision to hide a donation from a London property developer and convicted fraudster. The Mayor has recently championed the businessman’s plan for a 46-storey skyscraper against the wishes of English Heritage.
The handling of donations to the mayoral campaigns is a strong indication of how the candidates might deal with accountability in office. Boris’ campaign has been open from the start and has declared all backers who have given over £1,000. And this quote from the donations page of the BackBoris.com website should provide a degree of reassurance to people worried about party funding.
“We’d rather not take money from a small group of wealthy individuals or all-powerful unions. We’re hoping to build a broad base of individual donors, so all Londoners feel included.”
Compare this with the attitude of Livingstone. He has chosen to channel his donations through the party coffers, this means he only has to name donors who give over £5,000. While there is nothing illegal in this it reinforces the image of Livingstone being rather contemptuous of scrutiny.
In the original version of the post I said that both Livingstone and Brian Paddick channeled money through their respective parties. It has been brought to my attention that the Lib Dems are collecting donations at at regional level rather than at national level so the £1,000 threshold applies to them too. I have amended the original post.
This puts Livingstone’s actions into even sharper contrast to both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.