The national press have caught up with LabourList today, as the Independent on Sunday have an interesting report on the Simon Hughes donations investigation which we revealed on Friday.
The IOS report reveals that Hughes had attempted to arrange meetings with local MPs and councillors to discuss the “Rotherhithe New Road regeneration project”. That’s a project that was put forward by SCCD Developments, who own Southwark Metals – a company who had donated to Hughes’ local party. As we told you on Friday, Hughes spoke about Southwark Metals in Parliament after his local party had received donations from the company worth thousands of pounds, without registering these donations in his interests or declaring the interests when speaking.
Quite rightly, Southwark Labour leader Peter John complained that the MP should have declared the organisation’s financial connection to his party when trying to arrange these meetings.
Interestingly, the Rotherhithe New Road regeneration project includes plans for a free school, yet Hughes has in the past spoken out publicly AGAINST free schools, saying “It is no secret that I think that free schools are not the best way to meet the urgent need for extra school places in the north of our borough.”
If Hughes is against free schools – why was he so keen to meet councillors and MPs to discuss the project?