Chuka Umunna backed by over £200k in private cash

Labour sources have blasted the "new politics" motto espoused by Chuka Umunna after analysis revealed the high level of private funding behind the MP.

The MP for Streatham nears the top of the list for donations recieved by Commons members, recieving over £180,000 in cash donations since he was first elected in 2010.

Since the June 2017 election, Chuka Umunna has recieved five cash donations totaling £125,000, including £55,000 from a wine wholesaler.

Retired property developer Sir David Garrard, who has been criticised for avoiding tax through the use of offshore funds, also donated £15,000 to Umunna.

Sir Garrard is now reported to be the major financial backer of the new "Independent Group" of MPs, donating £1.5mn. He said in February 2019 that he ditched Labour over fear of the "ultra-Left Marxist/Socialist nature" of the party’s new leadership.

Umunna resigned the Labour whip in early 2019 alongside several other Labour MPs, and now sits as part of "The Independent Group" with three former Tory MPs.

The group have now registered as a new political party, "Change UK", and the 11 MPs have promised a "new politics" in opposition to the party system which they think is broken.

However one Labour source questioned the groups motto when they learned of the amount of private funding behind Chuka Umunna.

“Hardly a fresh start for British politics when it's more of the same corporate donors and private vested interests handing out cash for influence.

"Umunna has always been a city slicker, but the last thing we need is another party and MP standing up for bankers, hedge funds, venture capitalists and the Davos global elite.

Elsewhere, the bulk of the larger donations to current Labour MPs for things such as staff costs come from Trade Unions.

High profile backbench MPs such as Jess Phillips received modest donations from charities and campaign groups who want to support an MPs work on specific issues.

Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson received some of the highest private donations from individuals and companies, including from Sir Garrard, totalling over £120,000.

Another Labour source in England said with a general election on the horizon, the figures showed voters which party would be on their side.

"Just as Theresa May and the Conservatives are beholden to their hard right fringe, the new 'Tory Lite' Change UK will be tied to the private interests which have made their venture possible.

"Voters will have a clear choice between the parties who are on the side of those who have lined their pockets whilst the poorest suffer, or the Labour Party, who stand on the side of the many for real, transformative change."

The Red Robin contacted Chuka Umunna through his office yesterday and on Thursday, but had received no response at the time of publication.

Additional reporting by Tom Flanagan

Image: The Labour Party

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