Sophy Gardner – Labour’s PPC in Gloucester – has become the third of the party’s 106 target seat candidates to reject Tony Blair’s £1,000 donation to her campaign. She joins Lesley Brennan and Sally Keeble in turning down the support, and did so due to her criticism if the Iraq War, in which she served as a Wing Commander. Gardner told the Gloucester Citizen:
“I can say that if the cheque is made out to me, I have taken a personal decision that given my criticism of the Iraq war, in which I served, it would be hypocritical of me to accept it.
“Therefore, I can confirm I would decline this money.”
We doubt that the cheque will be made out in the name of the candidate – which might afford some wiggle room – but Gardner has been public in turning the money down. Others are thought to have done likewise but without public statement.
Meanwhile, one candidate who was rumoured to have turned down the Blair donation – Uma Kumaran in Harrow East – tweeted yesterday that this was incorrect and she would be accepting the donation:
Have been in back to back in meetings and just seen that I'm on Buzzfeed. To be clear: Harrow East LP will be accepting the donation from TB
— Uma Kumaran (@Uma_Kumaran) March 9, 2015
The vast majority of Labour PPCs have accepted the money and carried on campaigning.