Sir Keir Starmer‘s right-hand man failed to declare more than £730,000 in donations to the organisation that was behind his leadership campaign.
Morgan McSweeney broke laws on party funding by neglecting to register dozens of payments to think-tank Labour Together to the Electoral Commission on time.
His organisation was fined £14,250 by the watchdog for missing the 30-day deadline to register the donations.
Last night Josh Simons, director of Labour Together, said: ‘Labour Together proactively raised concerns about its own reporting to the Electoral Commission.’
He added: ‘As widely reported at the time, the investigation with which we fully cooperated was completed in 2021 and the outcome made public by the Electoral Commission.’
Morgan McSweeney (pictured) broke laws on party funding by neglecting to register dozens of payments to think-tank Labour Together to the Electoral Commission on time
Mr ScSweeney now serves as Sir Keir’s (pictured) director of campaigns as they prepare for the next general election, due in 2024
At the time of the missed registrations, Mr McSweeney was director of Labour Together, before going on to run Sir Keir’s successful bid to become Labour leader in 2020.
He now serves as Sir Keir’s director of campaigns as they prepare for the next general election, due in 2024.
Mr McSweeney had been appointed full-time director of Labour Together in 2017 by the MPs and businessmen who set it up as a counterpoint to the Opposition’s lurch to the hard-Left under Jeremy Corbyn.
It first came to prominence when it published an inquest into Labour’s disastrous performance at the 2019 general election, concluding the ‘toxic culture’ and lack of strategy was partly to blame.
Behind the scenes during the Corbyn years, the organisation had been raising large sums of money from wealthy businessmen, including £25,000 from former minister Lord Myners, as well as £10,000 from media tycoon Lord Hollick.
Hedge fund manager Martin Taylor and venture capitalist Trevor Chinn, who were early backers of Labour Together, also continued to hand over cash.
But in December 2017, Mr McSweeney had stopped reporting donations to the Electoral Commission as required, an investigation by the Sunday Times found.
Barely any money was disclosed for more than two years, until late in 2020, when an administrator realised the error.
The administrator, Hannah O’Rourke, then filed a series of late donation reports, which covered some £730,000.
She alerted the watchdog, which prompted the Electoral Commission to launch an investigation into the matter.
Behind the scenes during the Corbyn (pictured) years, the organisation had been raising large sums of money from wealthy businessmen, including £25,000 from former minister Lord Myners, as well as £10,000 from media tycoon Lord Hollick
Labour’s long-standing lawyer Gerald Shamash blamed ‘human error and administrative oversight’ in a February 2021 letter that he sent to the regulator.
‘Inquiries have been made of those involved at the material time and frankly it was assumed that donations were being properly reported as indeed they had been so reported up to late 2017 and early 2018,’ he wrote, insisting there had been ‘absolutely no intention’ to fail to report. However, the Electoral Commission rejected this explanation.
It had also found evidence that there had been under-reporting of some donations, and a failure to appoint a person responsible for declaring funds.
In September 2021, the watchdog said Labour Together had committed more than 20 breaches of electoral law and issued a £14,250 fine.
A spokesman said: ‘This reflected the multiple offences committed by Labour Together over a period of three years.’