Ben Brogan notes that Labour is doing its best to big up the Osborne donations story but there really is no comparison with Peter Hain’s undeclared £103,000.  George Osborne told the Electoral Commission about the money channeled via CCHQ to his Shadow Chancellor’s office.  Perhaps he should also have made a declaration to Commons’ authorities but he clearly wasn’t trying to hide it.  The best two observations on the Hain money were made by…

  1. The Mirror’s Kevin Macguire who blogged that Mr Orange spent £23.32 for every vote that helped him come fifth in the Labour deputy leadership battle… and
  2. Former Tory MP Neil Hamilton who, in his Sunday Express column, notes that Hain was one of his most "censorious and unforgiving critics" when he didn’t declare £667 back in 1990.  Mr Christine Hamilton concludes: "If Hain thought £667 a resigning matter, he should commit hari-kari for £103,000".

But if there is nothing dodgy about the £487,000 received by George Osborne there is some real shock and anger amongst his shadow cabinet colleagues.  We have spoken to three of them tonight and they are staggered that Mr Osborne has been in receipt of such "largesse" while they have been constantly refused money by CCHQ.  One senior member of Mr Cameron’s top team put it this way:

"George has the biggest job after DC and he should get the biggest share of the Treasurers’ pie but there’s no fairness here. I can hardly afford to undertake any long-term project. The shadow cabinet knew nothing of this.  It’s further evidence that the shadow cabinet is little more than a rubber stamp for the decisions taken by Cameron’s kitchen cabinet."