Thursday, 10 January 2008

Waiting, waiting....

Peter Hain is still busy doing his sums so he can present details of his campaign finances to the electoral commission.

Either the missing donations will reach six figures or someone has spun a dramatic advance figure to less the impact of the actual amount.

The BBC understands that the final figure is likely to be around £100,000. Even for a man with the biggest departmental budget in Whitehall, that is rather a lot of money.

Britain's top sleaze watchdog, to use the journalese, was questioned about the Hain affair earlier today. Sir Christopher Kelly told MPs: "The committee will certainly discuss that and see whether or not there are lessons to be learned from the experience.

"And I would guess - although I'm speaking for a committee that I haven't yet
met - that the committee would be concerned that even now not everyone appears
to have understood the importance of being absolutely transparent about
political donations."

Will he survive? A lot depends on the fall-out and the newspaper coverage generated by details of the donations when they finally emerge (possibly tonight).

Mr Hain hopes people will accept his "cock-up, not a conspiracy" explanation. If they don't, then he could be in big trouble.

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