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WALES: Tories in new funding row.

THE Tories were yesterday embroiled in their own party funding row as it emerged shadow chancellor George Osborne had not fully declared donations to his office.

A document obtained by a Sunday newspaper revealed pounds 487,000 given to the Conservative Party was used to support Mr Osborne's office at the donors* specific request.

But the shadow chancellor has not reported the support of the seven backers in the Parliamentary Register of Members' Interests.

The Tories, who have piled pressure on Labour over recent party funding embarrassments, including Peter Hain's current controversy, were accused of "hypocrisy".

But Mr Osborne insisted the Conservative Party had been seeking guidance from House of Commons officials about whether his financial support should be declared.

He said the fact it was not was based on a misunderstanding of advice from the Registrar of Members' Interests, Alda Berry.

"These donations are to the Conservative Party, they are openly declared and we have followed the rules as they were explained to us," he said.

"All the donations over pounds 5,000 have been declared to the Electoral Commission and are available for all to see on their website, as the law requires."

Mr Osborne went on to say that the money went to Conservative Central Headquarters (CCHQ), which employed staff to support him in his shadow cabinet role.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2008
Words:225
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