Chuka Umunna branded hypocrite over betting chief’s £20k donation

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna was called a hypocrite yesterday for accepting a £20,000 donation from a gambling honcho despite publicly demanding cuts in the number of betting shops.

Umunna, touted as Labour’s rising star and potential future leader, received donation from Neil Goulden, the chairman emeritus of the Gala Coral Group, which owns more than 1,700 bookmakers. Goulden is also chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers, the UK trade body and lobbying organisation for the industry.

The Streatham MP has been running a campaign to stop betting shops and in the past has warned that betting shops and payday loan companies “take advantage of our community”.

A June post on his website said: “Chuka has developed a Streatham Strategy to help the High Road. It includes a temporary cut in VAT [and] new powers to control the number of betting shops”.

The affair follows on from string of media embarrassments for the Labour high flier.

Earlier this year, Umunna was accused of editing his own Wikipedia page that compared him to Barack Obama. It later emerged that in 2006 Umunna said that West End haunts “seem to be full of trash and C-list wannabes”.

Tory Party vice-chairman Bob Neill told the Daily Mail: “Can anyone really credibly ever believe anything Chuka Umunna says?

“He says one thing in public and does another behind closed doors. His hypocrisy seems to be limitless.

“The only thing we know he truly believes is that the capital is full of ‘trash’ and ‘C-list’ wannabes,” he added.

A spokesman for Umunna said: “This donation was made by an individual Labour Party supporter in a personal capacity and was accepted in accordance with the rules and properly declared.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Anonymous

    Neil Goulden is a respected businessman who used to chair Gala Coral, a perfectly legal business. Currently he chairs the Responsible Gambling Trust, a Housing Association and sits on the low pay commission as well as doing some consultancy work.

    His money is in no way tainted just because he used to work in the gambling industry, nor does his donation involve Chuka in any hypocrisy. Chuka is concerned by problem gambling and wants more planning control over bookmakers but this is no reason to refuse this donation for the office costs of the shadow business role. That job supporting future business policy is important and needs to be funded.

    This open and fully declared donation is no scandal and shows no hypocrisy.

    Neil has become a hate figure for some anti gambling campaigners as he has a role as chair of the Association of British Bookmakers and the responsible gambling trust but there is no funding scandal or hypocrisy in this donation.

    Richas

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