Tom Watson is under intense pressure to return more than £500,000 given to him by Max Mosley after the Mail exposed the former F1 tycoon’s racist past.
This includes the disclosure that Mr Mosley published an appalling racist pamphlet during a by-election campaign which claimed ‘coloured immigrants’ spread ‘terrible diseases like leprosy’ and should be sent ‘home’.
Our revelations are hugely embarrassing for Mr Watson, the MP for West Bromwich East – where around 30 per cent of constituents are from ethnic minorities. And they could trigger a new round of infighting in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party about the deputy leader’s funding arrangements with the multimillionaire.
Comrades: Labour’s deputy leader with Jeremy Corbyn
In 2016 Mr Watson, who has described Mr Mosley as a ‘friend’, said after visiting a memorial in Israel to the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis: ‘I wanted to come back to Israel to pay respects on behalf of the UK Labour Party…
‘We remembered those who died in the Holocaust and renewed our determination to fight racism and anti-Semitism – whatever form it takes and wherever it exists.’
Yet three months later, in February 2017, he received £300,000 from Mr Mosley, who has previously sought to play down his links to his father’s far-Right Union Movement political party, set up following the demise of the British Union of Fascists.
The £300,000 donation (five times the amount given to Mr Watson in February 2017 by the GMB union) followed a £200,000 donation by Mr Mosley registered in June 2016 and £40,000 in August 2015.
In the House of Commons register of members’ interests, Mr Watson said the two biggest donations from Mr Mosley were donated via the Labour Party to support his office. The smallest one was to help fund his campaign to be Labour deputy leader.
Mr Watson is a founding member of the advisory committee for Hacked Off, the anti-Press pressure group.
Via a family trust, Mr Mosley is almost single-handedly bankrolling Impress, the Press regulator set up to offer ‘independent’ regulation under a State-approved scheme
Via a family trust, Mr Mosley is almost single-handedly bankrolling Impress, the Press regulator set up to offer ‘independent’ regulation under a State-approved scheme.
In February last year, ITV political editor Robert Peston suggested during an interview that Mr Mosley had ‘bought’ Mr Watson’s ‘influence’ through his donations.
Mr Watson replied that the Press and privacy campaigner had ‘given a donation to the Labour Party which has allowed me as deputy leader to increase our policy and research capacity’.
Earlier last year, when news of Mr Mosley’s £300,000 donation to the Labour deputy leader emerged, Mr Watson said: ‘I’m proud to call Max Mosley a friend and I’m delighted he has made a financial contribution to Labour.’
Mr Mosley faced questions over his past when he appeared on Channel 4 News tonight
Mr Mosley has previously defended his donations to Mr Watson, calling him a ‘very admirable politician’.
The ex-Formula One boss has been a key figure in the campaign to impose State-sponsored regulation on the Press after he sued the News of the World for printing photos of him taking part in a sadomasochistic orgy with prostitutes — one of whom was dressed in a German military uniform.
Impress is the only regulator approved under the Royal Charter, which was agreed between the three main political parties and Hacked Off after the Leveson Inquiry recommended ‘voluntary, independent self-regulation’.
Both he and Impress officials have insisted the regulator is independent.
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