Blair donates to £1,000 to each of Labour’s 106 target seats

5th March, 2015 8:10 am

Tony Blair 2014-06-02 08-34-46

Recently it was reported that Tony Blair would be playing a role in Labour’s general election campaign. It’s still not clear if that will happen (indeed our recent LabourList survey and polling suggested that would be a bad idea) but the former Labour leader has made a significant donation to the party – backing each of Labour’s 106 candidates in target seats with £1,000 each. The Guardian reports Blair as saying, in a letter to candidates:

I know how hard it can be to raise money to fund a local campaign, but for you, in one of our 106 battleground seats, it is even more vital. This is where the election will be won for Labour and that is why I am making a donation to all 106 campaigns.

As one of our key seat candidates you know better than most the scale of the challenge we face, but I have every confidence that with your drive, determination and organisational skills, you will deliver a successful local campaign that will also see our party returned to government.

Donating to key seat candidates in this way is an interesting approach. On one hand, it benefits candidates directly, on the ground where the money is needed most. There’s direct control over what the money is spent on – campaigning, rather than the general running of the party – and more people will benefit.

However, the downside is that there’s no targeting of where the money goes. Some candidates in target seats will already have raised enough money to spend the maximum allowed under spending limits – meaning this donation won’t have an impact on the election. Some target seats may be (unfortunately) lost causes by this point. Meanwhile, some seats may need far more than £1,000, and might have received that had the support been given directly to the party.

All of that aside though, this is a very significant sum – and makes Blair one of the party’s most prominent and public big donors in this election cycle. The party are clearly very happy – here’s what a spokesperson said:

“We’re delighted that Tony Blair has given so generously to the local campaigns in the battleground seats our party is targeting at this general election.

“Our campaign is not based on big posters, talking over the heads of voters, or the sound and fury of Westminster politics. It is based on millions of conversations with people on their doorsteps and in their communities” 

One thing is certain – anyone who has claimed Blair isn’t fully behind Labour’s campaign will struggle to make that argument now…

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  • Daniel Speight

    One thing is certain – anyone who has claimed Blair isn’t fully
    behind Labour’s campaign will struggle to make that argument now…

    I would think not so hard actually. I’m sure we could come up with all sorts of reasons which would explain it.

    Talking of reasons, is there one for why there is no byline on this piece? Is someone a little embarrassed?

    • treborc1

      Wonder what he wants for this, blood.

  • PATRICKNEWMAN

    Beware of ex Prime Ministers bearing gifts. Mr Milburn have you got a bob or two to spare? Then there is Peter (Lord) Musthavesome before he gets clobbered by the Mansion Tax.

  • Joyce Eaton

    Let us give Credit where credit is due and thank Tony Blair for his generous donation to the Labour Party. He knows that only a Labour government really care about us.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Blood money

    • Matthew Blott

      How is it blood money?

  • Dave Postles

    Has anyone rejected it?

  • Tommo

    Well done Tony !

  • Mike B

    As a Labour activist in a target seat I know how much this money is needed. We have run a number of successful fund raisers and can fund our campaign but we know our principle opponents (Lib Dems) are awash with dosh. Tony Blair will get no benefit from the membership of our local party but it does not mean that we can sniff at the money.

  • Chris in Balham

    If he had wanted to donate to the central party he would have done but it would have got lost in the machine. He obviously wanted it to go to the target seats. Surely it’s possible that HQ even steered him in this direction?

    If he had picked some target seats and not others the message from opponents would be ‘Tony Blair doesn’t think you can win here because he didn’t give you any money”

    A lot of voters still regard Tony Blair highly and he is not the millstone some people think he is.

    • Dave Postles

      ‘A lot of voters still regard Tony Blair highly and he is not the millstone some people think he is.’
      I was thinking more albatross and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

  • RWP

    What is the significance of the 106 figure?

    • Dave Postles

      666 is more appropriate, of course.

  • Lawrence

    Blood money, nothing else. This warmonger should be handed over to the Iraqi people to disspose of him as they see fit. Evil liar.

  • Doug Smith

    Let’s hope the 106 PPCs grace themselves with dignity and tear up Blair’s cheques.

    They will win more votes by doing that than can be bought with £1000 from Blair.

    • Mosabbir Ali

      Good NEWS

  • Malcolm McCandless

    I doubt the Labour candidates in Dundee East, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh West, Argyll & Bute and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale will be thanking Tony Blair over contributions to their campaigns.

    Each one of the candidates are under pressure to reject Tony Blair’s blood money. Scottish Labour are also under pressure to not only reject it but also to distance itself from similar controversial campaign funding.

    • BillFrancisOConnor

      When you say ‘controversial campaign funding’, do you mean things like the funding by tax exiles, like Sean Connery, of the SNP?

  • James Moore

    Any news on candidates declining the money?
    Fortunately I haven’t been offered any!

  • Nicholas Poulcherios

    I find this very difficult with my christian faith to condemn anyone. However I find what he did to The Labour Party as a Whole UK Labour TeamGB devastating. Seriously damaging,causing rifts to the regions suffering to this day. Blair and Cameron, the two of them, with their total disregard to democracy ,and peoples strong views regarding Public Services nearly caused us the split of the Union. Possibly also the strength and unity of our Labour Party as LabourTeamGB. Hope,rests on the skills of Ed Miliband to pick up the pieces, shut out the Blairite nonsence and proceed on our socialist heritage with both feet on the ground making policies relevant to all of us to day-21st century. If he gives he must not expect to have any influence, influence on policy or party or individual MPs. I do not like this idea he is not a very honest man to trust. But his wife is a sound socialist. I would feel happier if he just gave to the Party and not buy out individual MPs in this provocative manner. Don’t expect truth and trust he is a Lawyer?! Some you can trust!

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