Why did a Labour campaign group give £18,500 to UKIP?

UKIP is a populist, often racist, nationalist political movement that should be opposed to the dying breath by every decent social democrat. 

On the day Jo Cox was murdered then UKIP leader Nigel Farage launched his "Breaking Point" posters, conflating the movement of Syrian refugees across Europe with lawful EU migration to the UK. As former Chancellor George Osborne pointed out, the poster had echoes of Nazi propaganda. 

But this does not appear to have troubled Labour Leave, a group supported by MPs including Kate Hoey, John Mann and Frank Field.

According to the recently published Electoral Commission donations list, Labour Leave Ltd made a £18,500 donation to UKIP just days before the EU referendum on 23 June 2016.  

On Friday, Labour Leave issued the following statement:

27 January 2017

During the EU referendum campaign, Labour Leave co-organised events with other groups in favour of Brexit. These were cross-party events and included representatives from Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP, as well as non-partisan organisations.

We sought clarity from the Electoral Commission to ensure we were compliant, and they advised us to pay our share of the cost in the form of a donation. This one-off payment to UKIP was solely our share of this cost. The figure covered the cost of venue hire, transport, accommodation and security for the events. 

We believe that Labour is the only party that can create a brighter, fairer and more prosperous future for Britain.

There were many in the Labour party who supported Britain leaving the European Union. But donating money to pay to share a platform with UKIP is an entirely different question altogether. Labour party rules say the following on promoting or donating to other political parties:

A member of the party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member, subject to the provisions of Chapter 6.I.2 below of the disciplinary rules.

The directors of Labour Leave will need to answer how they consider donating to UKIP to fund a joint political event as not "support" for a rival political organisation. Are the directors of Labour Leave satisfied that there was no other way to get their message out to voters during the EU referendum apart from jointly paying for events where UKIP was the financial controller?

UKIP plans to replace Labour MPs in northern seats with their own. They are a nasty rival to the Labour party in many parts of this country. Labour members should be fighting UKIP, not giving them money. 

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