Lord Sainsbury has today made a £2 million donation to the Labour party. This donation could hardly have come at a better time for Gordon Brown, who is still riding high in the polls and has repeatedly hinted at the possibility of holding a snap election in October, but whose Labour party has debts conservatively estimated to exceed £19 million.
This donation is also incredibly well-timed for other reasons, considering the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, which will have major implications on the future of biomedical research (including embryonic stem cell research, which as from yesterday, may now involve the creation of human-animal hybrids) is due to receive its First Reading in the next Parliamentary session.
But then Lord Sainsbury has repeatedly demonstrated his impeccable sense of timing. After donating around £7 million to Labour during the build-up to the 1997 election (he has now donated over £16m in total to Labour), the multi-million pound investor in human biotechnology was awarded a peerage following Labour’s victory, and subsequently made Government Minister for Science in 1998. Less than a year before the Human Cloning (Amendment) Act, in fact.
Having loaned the party £2 million to fund the 2005 election, he was questioned by the police as a witness during the cash-for-honours investigation and resigned shortly afterwards. However, he still claims that his intention was always to leave government after three or four years.
But I’m sure its all above board...