Harriet Harman will not face police probe over donations

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Secretary of State for Equality Harriet Harman will not be referred to the police for her late declaration of donations to her campaign for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the Electoral Commission has announced.

She won the deputy leadership in June 2007 and was made Secretary of State for Equality, chair of the Labour party and Leader of the House of Commons.

In her Equality role she is responsible for gay rights.

“We have written to Harriet Harman making clear that failure to report on time is a serious matter and we expect her to comply with the rules,” a commission spokesperson said.

Two donations totalling just over £6,000 and loans of £58,000 were reported to the commission late.

In November Ms Harman returned a £5,000 donation to her campaign after the Prime Minister admitted that £600,000 of donations from controversial businessman David Abrahams were not “lawfully declared.”

Mr Abrahams used four associates to donate money to the Labour over four years. Giving money under someone else’s name is unlawful.

Ms Harman accepted £5,000 from Janet Kidd but it emerged the money was actually from Mr Abrahams.

The commission said today that this donation to Ms Harman’s campaign was not reported properly, but had been returned in keeping with the rules.

It emerged that one of her rivals for the deputy role, Hilary Benn, was offered £5,000 through an associate of Mr Abrahams but refused.

He was later given money directly by Mr Abrahams, which he accepted.

Gordon Brown turned down donations to his leadership campaign from associates of Mr Abrahams.

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act 2000 requires details of a donor acting through a proxy or third party to be recorded by the political party and reported to the Electoral Commission.

Ms Harman’s Conservative shadow, Theresa May, has asked her to explain why she accepted a donation two weeks after her campaign ended.

One of Ms Harman’s rivals for the deputy leadership, Peter Hain, resigned from the government in January after the Electoral Commission asked the police to investigate his failure to declare more than £100,000 in donations to his campaign.

Mr Hain has maintained that poor administration was the reason that 17 loans to his campaign to become Deputy Leader of the Labour party were not declared properly.

The Electoral Commission was made aware of the donations four months after the contest was over, which is against the law.