Another Nationalist investigated over independence campaign spending
Chris Law, the SNP MP for Dundee West, has provided information to the police about his financial dealings, apparently in relation to his ‘Spirit of Independence’ campaign in 2014, according to the Daily Mail.
This saw him driving around Scotland, distributing leaflets from a re-purposed Green Goddess fire engine. The Herald reports that Nicola Sturgeon wants the investigation to “take its course”.
Were Law – whom the Daily Record reveals is set to buy himself a castle – to lose the SNP whip it would bring the ‘disgraced ex-Nationalist’ caucus up to the combined number of unionist MPs currently sitting for Scottish seats.
Alas for the UK, the unionists’ best hope of pulling ahead currently looks to be George Galloway, who has announced his intention to contest McGarry’s Glasgow East constituency in the event of a by-election.
Tories claim Jones is ‘danger to the UK’
Andrew RT Davies, the Welsh Tory leader, has launched a fresh attack on Carwyn Jones over the latter’s closeness to Plaid Cymru, according to Wales Online.
Writing in the Sunday Times (£), he launched a stinging attack on the First Minister, who with Sadiq Khan is one of Labour’s most senior remaining elected officials:
“He has flip-flopped over fundamental aspects such as the freedom of movement, seeking at every turn the support of his nationalist comfort blanket, Plaid Cymru – on whom he is becoming increasingly reliant. It is abundantly clear that Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is no longer alone in posing a danger to the future of the Union.”
Jones has previously been criticised by his own side for his fixation on the Nationalists, which Labour critics believe left the Conservatives the political space they needed for their success in the 2015 general election.
He also spent the EU referendum campaign warning that Brexit might lead to “the Welsh people are asking which union – the UK or the EU – we should be a member of.” Wales, including the First Minister’s own constituency, voted Leave.
In other news, this week Jones appointed Alun Davies to fill the new Welsh seat on Labour’s NEC. The creation of these seats, which are in the gift of the leaders of the devolved parties, is seen as a blow to the Corybnistas.
Democratic Unionists talk deals in Birmingham
Channel 4’s Gary Gibbon reports that the Democratic Unionist Party is at the Conservative Conference in strength, sounding out an agreement that might secure “special status” for Northern Ireland.
This follows a report in the Irish Times that the Irish Government is making moves to try to establish some kind of special recognition for the Irish border during the EU negotiations. The DUP have rebuffed efforts to get dragged into Dublin’s activities but seem to be working for the same thing.
An arrangement with the eight-strong DUP caucus would boost the Government’s working majority from 16 (12 plus the boost from Sinn Fein’s abstention and the Speaker and Deputy Speakers) to a much healthier 32.
Gibbon reports says at Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, is keen to stress that this won’t be a formal pact, which probably suits both sides. Instead it would apparently be an understanding: “a presumption of support linked to a right to be consulted and looked after.”
It’s certainly a more constructive approach than that being taken by some Ulster-based litigants, who are mounting a legal challenge to Brexit on the basis that Northern Ireland should have the right to veto it.
Plaid Cymru took funding from Gaddafi’s Libya, alleges activist
A long-standing and active member of the Welsh Nationalists has claimed that the party accepted £25,000 from the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 1976.
Wales Online reports how Dr Carl Clowes, who was part of a four-man Plaid delegation to Libya that year, relayed the story in his autiobiography.
The Nationalists say they have no record of such a donation, but Clowes insists he was told the cash had been paid into the party’s general fund.
Davies’ Tories are insisting that Plaid pay the donation – apparently worth more than £160,000 in today’s money – back to Libya.