Hmmm…. Strange how confused various people seem to have been about who is and is not a ‘permissible donor’ within the meaning of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (c. 41). Here’s what Section 54 says:
(1) A donation received by a registered party must not be accepted by the party if—
(a) the person by whom the donation would be made is not, at the time of its receipt by the party, a permissible donor; or
(b) the party is (whether because the donation is given anonymously or by reason of any deception or concealment or otherwise) unable to ascertain the identity of that person.
(2) For the purposes of this Part the following are permissible donors—
(a) an individual registered in an electoral register;
(b) a company—
(i) registered under the [1985 c. 6.] Companies Act 1985 or the [S.I. 1986/1032 (N.I. 6).] Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, and
(ii) incorporated within the United Kingdom or another member State,
which carries on business in the United Kingdom;
(c) a registered party;
(d) a trade union entered in the list kept under the [1992 c. 52.] Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 or the [S.I. 1992/807 (N.I.5).] Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1992;
(e) a building society (within the meaning of the [1986 c. 53.] Building Societies Act 1986);
(f) a limited liability partnership registered under the [2000 c. 12.] Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000, or any corresponding enactment in force in Northern Ireland, which carries on business in the United Kingdom;
(g) a friendly society registered under the [1974 c. 46.] Friendly Societies Act 1974 or a society registered (or deemed to be registered) under the [1965 c. 12.] Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 or the [1969 c. 24.] Industrial and Provident Societies Act (Northern Ireland) 1969; and
(h) any unincorporated association of two or more persons which does not fall within any of the preceding paragraphs but which carries on business or other activities wholly or mainly in the United Kingdom and whose main office is there.
Seems clear enough, doesn’t it? I suppose the Labour party could argue that, under 1(b), since they knew that Mr Abrahams was really the man behind all those donations, then it was all ok, because he is, after all, clearly a ‘permissible donor’. So it might all hinge on how feeble the ‘anonymising’ dodges were.