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Labour Party funding crisis grows in Britain

Gordon Brown has been facing a grilling in parliament over the funding row that has engulfed his Labour party. The British prime minister is being asked to explain exactly what he knew about the nearly one million euros donated by property developer David Abrahams through various intermediaries. On Tuesday, the prime minister condemned the donations as illegal and pledged their return.

After the resignation of Labour General Secretary Peter Watt earlier this week, speculation is growing that other senior party members were aware of the disguised gifts. One of the intermediaries, Janet Dunn, whose husband occasionally worked for Abrahams, claims she had no idea the cash was destined for the Labour party.

"I knew nothing about it, and we've always been Conservative supporters. That's all I have to say," she told reporters.

It has also emerged the party's chief fundraiser Jon Mendelsohn had recently praised Abrahams as one of the party's strongest supporters and invited him to a personal meeting to discuss "resources".

Another senior party figure, deputy leader Harriet Harman, admitted accepting a donation but said she wasn't aware of the donor's identity.

"I had no reason to believe it was anything other than a genuine donation from somebody on the electoral register who was a pre-existing donor to the Labour party," she said.

Abrahams claims he did not realise using middlemen was illegal, arguing he just wanted to avoid publicity. An inquiry into donations to Labour announced by the prime minister opens today.


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