Police probe missing £10,000 from Labour party coffers

Police have been called in to probe the missing money. Picture: Getty.

Police have been called in to probe the missing money. Picture: Getty.

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LABOUR activists have called in police after getting fed-up waiting for party bosses to investigate how £10,000 went missing from local party coffers.

The Evening News revealed in July last year how Labour had launched an inquiry into the Edinburgh Eastern constituency party after the cash disappeared.

Labour Party treasurer Karen Rennie

Labour Party treasurer Karen Rennie

The seat is the one where Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is due to stand in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Local party treasurer Karen Rennie was suspended from the party while the inquiry was carried out and remains suspended today.

But the investigation has dragged on without any result and now a group of local members has approached the police.

Paul Nolan, a former councillor and ex-chairman of the local party, wrote to Police Scotland’s Edinburgh commander Mark Williams about the probe, alleging a crime had been committed.

He said he was due to see police about the matter this week.

Mr Nolan said: “It has been 18 months now since we discovered the money was missing.

“This is a cloud hanging over the local party and we need to get it resolved.

“We need to know what happened, who did what and, if possible, try to recover the money. If that’s not done we will never make progress and never get campaigning properly for the election next year.”

In July, Mr Nolan wrote to Scottish Labour headquarters, on behalf of a group of members, complaining at the lack of progress in the inquiry more than a year after the cash went missing.

He wrote: “For several years prior to this discovery, constituency members were continuously raising concerns about the lack of audited accounts and financial reporting and the unwillingness of office 
bearers to make this information available.”

He said members had repeatedly raised the issue of the missing money over the past 12 months, but were always told they could not discuss it because it was “sub judice” or others were dealing with it.

The party wrote back, saying it fully understood the concerns but there had been “a significant delay in obtaining full information from the bank and other organisations”.

It went on to say progress had been made in the past few weeks and a report would be produced shortly including recommendations for the future management of local party finances.

Former council leader Ewan Aitken, who is vice-chair of the Edinburgh Eastern Labour party, said it had been decided not to comment on the matter.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that officers have received a complaint regarding the Edinburgh Eastern Labour Party. Inquiries are currently ongoing.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com