Socialist Worker

Sleaze allegations grow as crisis engulfs Gordon Brown

Issue No. 2080

Gordon Brown’s fundraiser, Jon Mendelsohn, sits in the centre of the crisis over donations to the Labour party.

The first donation that Peter Hain forgot to declare was £5,000 from Mendelsohn.

In the aftermath of Labour’s 1997 election victory, Mendelsohn, together with two other self-confessed Blairites, set up the LLM Communications lobbying firm.

The firm promised “ethical lobbying” in the wake of the Tory cash-for-questions scandal of the 1990s.

They promised that they would “not take on clients whose behaviour or goals we find politically or morally indefensible”.

But the following year the firm became embroiled in the cash-for-access affair that rocked Tony Blair’s government, when LLM executives were caught boasting about links to the Labour hierarchy. LLM denied it had committed any impropriety.

Access

Mendelsohn’s then partner claimed that the firm could get his clients access to anyone – “Gordon Brown if we have to.”

The Observer claimed that in the 1990s a proposed car parking tax would cost Tesco, the supermarket chain and an LLM client, £20 million annually.

The paper alleged LLM was holding secret meetings with Tony Blair’s Downing Street policy unit to get Tesco exempted from the proposed tax.

The tax threat went away after LLM advised Tesco to drop £11 million into funding for the Millennium Dome project.

Prior to founding the firm Mendelsohn was an adviser to Blair from 1995 up until his election victory in 1997.

Mendelsohn paid £5,000 to Brown’s uncontested leadership bid when his former boss stood down earlier this year.

Then in August, Mendelsohn was appointed as Labour’s director of general election resources.

On his appointment, Mendelsohn described himself as “a lifelong Labour supporter and a passionate believer in social justice and equality”.


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