The biggest union to back Peter Hain's failed deputy leadership campaign wants the police to investigate whether his campaign organisers spent its donation properly. Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, is to be interviewed by Scotland Yard as part of the inquiry into whether the former cabinet minister broke the law by not declaring donations of more than £100,000 to the Electoral Commission.

Scotland Yard has written to the GMB, which gave more than £14,197 in cash and support to the Hain campaign.

Kenny said yesterday: "We will cooperate fully with the police inquiries and will supply any documentation that the police require on the donation. We want the police to inquire into whether our money was spent correctly.

"We can trace £4,197 as it was a printing bill, [but] the £10,000 was supposed to be spent on an advertising campaign. We want the police to make sure it was, and not channelled to any other third party. If it wasn't [spent on advertising] we want our money back."

The police letter is from Yard detectives led by acting commander Nigel Mawer.

The GMB decided to back Hain last June after delegates at its annual conference voted him the best candidate following a hustings of contenders. But the union's two donations were among 17 that Hain failed to declare to the Electoral Commission. Last month the commission referred the matter to the police. That triggered Hain's resignation from the government.

The GMB appears to be among the first donors to be approached by the police. Keith Norman, general secretary of Aslef, the train drivers' union, is also to be interviewed. The union gave £5,000, which was declared to the commission.

Scotland Yard is gathering information before interviewing the former cabinet minister and his two campaign managers, lobbyist Steve Morgan and former special adviser Phil Taylor. Morgan said last night: "I have not been approached by the police since they announced their inquiry."

Another donor and longstanding friend of Hain, City IT recruitment specialist Bill Bottriell, who gave £20,000, said last night: "I have not been approached by the police, but only one of my donations was not declared. I still think this was an oversight by Mr Hain, who forgot to declare the donations because he was so busy as a minister."

John Underwood, Neil Kinnock's former press secretary and now a successful marketing man, was unable to comment last night on whether he had been approached. The police are expected to look at the role of a thinktank set up by Underwood, the Progressive Policy Forum, which has never published a paper or held a meeting, but channelled more than £50,000 to Hain's campaign. This money was among the £103,156 not declared.

Scotland Yard was not commenting on the approaches last night. A spokesman said: "We never discuss who we are going to interview in any inquiry."



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