UK Politics

Burnham says Unite donation received before election

Labour leadership candidates, Jeremy Corbyn (left), Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham Image copyright PA
Image caption The register lists the financial interests of the four Labour candidates as well as 646 other MPs

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said a £3,000 donation he received from the Unite union will not fund his Labour leadership campaign.

He declared the money on 4 June, three weeks after joining the leadership race, according to the latest issue of the register of MPs' interests.

Mr Burnham has insisted he will not take union cash to fund his leader bid.

The MP's spokesman said the donation preceded the general election and was used to fund his re-election campaign.

The information is included in the newly updated register, which lists donations, shareholdings, corporate hospitality and other declarable financial interests of all 650 MPs, including those elected for the first time in May.

It also shows which MPs employ family members paid for from parliamentary expenses

The register shows that one of Mr Burnham's rivals for the leadership, Jeremy Corbyn, received £4,000 from the RMT union before the election while Liz Kendall, declared a donation of £2,500 from the businessman Sir Trevor Chinn, a former boss of the RAC, a week after she declared she was running for party leader.

'Local campaigning'

Mr Burnham ruled out accepting any union money during the leadership election, which concludes in September.

Unite is Labour's largest financial donor and its leader Len McCluskey, while declining to say publicly who he is backing, has said he wants the "correct" candidate to win.

Image caption David Cameron received a hamper from Fortnum and Mason on the day of his election victory

Speaking in May, he said: "No money has been offered, but if it was, I would encourage it to be given to the Labour party to assist the rebuilding after the election".

A spokesman for Mr Burnham said the £3,000 donation - made to his local party - was received before the general election, and used to fund his campaign as the Labour candidate in Leigh.

"It was received before the election campaign," said the spokesman. "The money was used for campaigning in the Leigh area."

Fellow candidate Yvette Cooper has not declared any donations made since she announced her candidacy, although she received £13,800 from the former Labour MP Barbara Follett to fund her work as shadow home secretary. She also received £5,000 in February this year from a company, CM Creative Management, whose board includes the Labour peer Lord Alli.

The register, which applies up to 8 June, shows David Cameron received a £500 luxury hamper from Fortnum and Mason on 8 May, the day on which he returned to Downing Street after the Conservatives' election victory.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Boris Johnson - the newly elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip - received an £88,000 advance from publishers Hodder & Stoughton for an "as yet unwritten" book.

Neither Tim Farron nor Norman Lamb, the two men vying to be the next Lib Dem leader, have recorded any declarable donations since entering the race to succeed Nick Clegg.

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