WHEN the Guardian reported yesterday that Peter Hain had under-reported the amount of money he received from donors for his campaign for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party last year it added that “some political sources believe the revelations could damage his political future”. What political future is the only possible response to that statement. Mr Hain is currently Minister for Work and Pensions, not an unimportant job but not one in the front line either, and previously has had varied responsibilities, including an important role in the final stages of the Northern Ireland peace process, a spell as leader of the House of Commons and another as Minister of Europe at the Foreign Office. According to the Guardian, the scale of undisclosed donations runs into tens of thousands of pounds from a variety of donors and that when all the information has been gathered it will be found that he spent well over 100'000 pounds on his campaign - more than double the amount raised by the successful candidate, Harriet Harman. Mr Hain has apologised for his “deeply regrettable” failure to report the donations and has blamed “organisational and administrative problems”. Given the varied ministerial posts Mr Hain has held, it cannot be unreasonable to ask why he did not take steps to ensure that the necessary “organisational and administrative” measures were put in place, especially at a time when political donations have become such a hot issue.


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