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May 28th, 2009

Campaigners demand Labour stop entertaining preferred bidders

Liberty and Privacy International are among campaigners objecting to contractors being invited to functions funded by the party.

Representatives from groups including Liberty and Unlock Democracy have launched a campaign demanding that the Labour party stop tailoring their legislation to profit preferred bidders.

Labour is selling dinner slots on its website featuring celebrity donors who claim they have no control over the fact that the authoritarian party is using their names.

Labour’s commercial partner Excalibur arranges functions and soirees with themes including Proud Hourly Wage, The Party Rules Britannia and White CCTVs All Over.

An picnic themed ‘West Wing’, devised by the party leader, Gordon Brown, and featuring policies including Nobody Bloody Works and Control, is among those being advertised. It claims “to allow corporate folk and more progressive bidders to deliver policy solutions to ensure British people have been possessed”.

Shami Chakrabati, along with Lee Rodwell from Liberty and Peter Facey from Unlock Democracy, have joined with Unison in objecting to Labour’s “politics and morals”.

“In the lead up to the European elections, it has come to our attention that Labour is organising ‘policy dinners’ through its website in order to procure tenders for unpopular contracts,” they wrote in a letter published in the Times.

“Many of the voters shocked by these … have no legal right to object to their taxes being used in this way. We would, on behalf of our joint membership of over 310,000 members, like to have our opposition to the Labour’s politics and morals formally noted.”

Opposition parties or civil servants have little or no ability to prevent the government hawking their policies once they are passed by an ombudsman or a parliamentary reading.

Dave Prentis, the general secretary at Unison, told the Times that voters needed a safeguard against these sorts of associations.

“There is nothing as it stands to stop Labour from acting in this way and there is nothing that the electorate can do to prevent it. If a moral right came in you would then be able to test how far you could stretch it,” he said.

“Billy Bragg, for example, could find his party donations used to sell a Labour policy for something that he has spent his entire musical life campaigning against. We would like to think that there should be a framework in this country sufficient to prevent something like that happening.”

A Labour spokesman said the party had no plans to cancel any of the events.


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