Donations Scandal Fresh Blow to Brown

Party general secretary quits over 'murky affair'; rival Tories smell blood
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2007 9:18 AM CST
Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrives for breakfast. The scandal over secret donations to the party is just the latest blow to his Labour Party in a troubling few weeks.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The general secretary of Britain's ruling Labour Party has quit over secret donations made to the party, reports The Independent. The news is a fresh blow to party leader Gordon Brown, who had been hoping to launch a counter-offensive after a disastrous week that saw the rival Tory party open up its biggest poll lead in 19 years. The embattled PM said today he knew nothing about the "unacceptable" donations until Saturday, and they will be returned.

At issue is  $1.2 million in donations to the party made by David Abrahams, a property developer, who channeled them secretly and perhaps illegally through other people. The affair echoes some of the "sleaze" accusations Tony Blair faced, and Brown is now likely to face continuing questions about his complicity and the competence of his government.