Labour party auction signed copies of the Hutton report

From The Guardian

A Tory MP has today written to Labour chair, Hazel Blears, demanding an apology for the party’s “monumental lack of judgment” in raising funds by auctioning a copy of the Hutton report signed by Cherie Blair.

Stuart Jackson, Conservative MP for Peterborough, told Guardian Unlimited that he was writing to Ms Blears today to ask why the party had raised money through selling a signed copy of the official report into the events surrounding the suicide of the government scientist Dr David Kelly.

In the letter, Mr Jackson also asked Ms Blears if it was prudent for Labour ministers, including pensions minister James Purnell and health minister Rosie Winterton, to have attended an event given the “offensive and insensitive” nature of the sale.

A report by the Mail on Sunday this weekend revealed that ‘400 was raised by selling the report, also signed by Alastair Campbell, at an event last Wednesday held at the Arts Club in Mayfair. Organised by James Purnell, with another Blairite MP Chris Bryant presiding as auctioneer, the bash was attended by at least 200 guests including ministers and senior Labour members.

Mr Jackson, who put down a Commons motion condemning the event, told Guardian Unlimited: “This shows a monumental lack of judgment, its both barrel scrapping and offensive. The Labour party seemed to have forgotten that the Hutton report was investigating the events that led up to the suicide of a civil servant and is not a fun novelty item that they can auction. It’s sleazy and unacceptable.”

The Labour party, which has not so far made any comment on the fundraising event, said it would look at Mr Jackson’s letter when they received it and would reply in at a later date. Mr Jackson’s early day motion calls on the party to donate the money to charity.

Published in January 2004, the report by Lord Hutton was critical of the BBC but caused controversy for clearing the government of deliberately “sexing up” its September 2002 dossier into Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and for concluding that there was not a strategy to publicly reveal Dr Kelly’s name before his death.