Labour is calling for an investigation into a third-party Tory campaign to smear its housing policy and in particular, Jeremy Corbyn, during the run-up to the last election.

A website – which has since been taken down – and a Facebook group titled, ‘Right To Rent, Right To Buy, Right To Own’ claimed Corbyn’s policies on the rental market would drive landlords from the sector, meaning less choice for tenants.

They claimed: “Landlords who remain may invest less in their properties in a bid to stay afloat. Under Corbyn’s Labour Party, colossal borrowing will push up interest rates. This will mean higher mortgage payments when you come to buy a home or re-mortgage.”

Lobbyist Jennifer Powers, a former Tory intern, was behind the campaign, and spent more than £65,000 publishing dozens of adverts in 2019.

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She told the Mirror she had partly funded them herself and raised money through donations but refused to name the source of her funding. The ads were declared to the Electoral Commission as a ‘third party’, meaning they don’t count towards party spending limits.

MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has told the Commons that the elections watchdog needs to investigate this and other third-party campaigning by pro-Tory groups, who spent a total of £700,000 without declaring any individual donations.

The campaigns all declared they had not received a single donation over the £7,500 threshold for declaring donors to the Electoral Commission.

Website openDemocracy says Right to Rent, Right to Buy, Right to Own bore striking similarities to another supposedly independent third-party campaign, including sending nearly identical emails in response to queries from the Electoral Commission and having remarkably similar privacy policies on their websites.

The Commission has said that it is the legal responsibility of campaigners to ensure that their donations are declared fully.

8 COMMENTS

  1. You just have to laugh.

    A number of our largest ‘charities’ effectively act as pressure groups campaigning for Labour policies. Housing is one obvious example. Shelter, anyone ?

    These charities are careful to make sure they stay just the right side of the charity ‘rules’, so they can retain the veneer of political independence, but that’s what they’re doing and everyone knows it. There’s also virtually a revolving-door between Labour and the ‘charity’ sector, with staff and ‘advisors’ / SPADs / whatever you want to call them, moving freely between the two.

  2. With McDonnell promoting private tenants’ right to buy their home at a discount from their landlord, the Tories did not need to fund a website to destroy landlord confidence in Labour policy.

  3. The original Right to Buy scheme removed a large chunk of houses which were supposed to remain in the pool for people to rent on long term secure leases. I want a villa in the Mediterranean, and I can’t afford one. What do I do? Find a way of earning enough money to buy one. Or compromise and live in a small hut in the Mediterranean. Not badger the various Mediterranean governments to house me there for free just because that’s what I want. The policies of Corbyn were confused, blinkered, lacked understanding of long term cause and effect, and were essentially puerile. He also managed to contribute loudly to the landlord-bashing which is so popular. Lets all sell up, then see what happens to people who cannot get a mortgage, or cannot keep one, and get repossessed, or those who don’t want to be responsible for their own roof repairs, electrical wiring, heating and hot water, and even just paying the bills. Go on. Then we can all say ‘I told you so’ when half the population end up in the hedge.

    • Please sell up…the corporate landlords like Lloyds Bank, will provide future private housing…the days of the little small time landlords are numbered……a similar pattern to housing associations in the Private rental sector is emerging….get out of the way chaps…

  4. Both major political parties continue to take great delight in kicking LL even more.

    They know such populist kicking is electorally advantageous for both parties.

    I DON’T believe Arms dealers face the same approbrium that LL do from political parties.

    I find it quite disgusting that these political parties behave this way towards a major sector that houses a substantial part of the UK population very effectively.

    I’m afraid it all about envy.

    Political parties playing on a base sin of envy.

    Not everyone can have what they want in life.

    LL have purchased property in an open market.

    They have no advantage compared to any other aspirant property buyer.

    LL having risen to the challenge of providing vitally needed accommodation for those who need or wish to rent now find themselves castigated for achieving just that……………………………….Catch 22!?

    The idiot lefties even complain that LL are making tenants homeless when they sell up.

    LL just can’t win!!

  5. It seems that this “campaign to smear” the Labour Party’s housing policy was simply echoing what they were saying and stating the obvious. It is hard to see what Labour have to complain about.

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