Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott spent all of her charity’s income last year on a party held to launch…her charity.
Accounts just published by the grandly titled Diane Abbott Foundation (DAF), an education charity, confirm that the only funds it received during 2015 came in the form of a £10,000 gift from law firm Linklaters.
Of this, £9,627.25 was spent on the “official launch” of the DAF last December. The bash was held at the grace and favour apartments of House of Commons Speaker John Bercow.
Strangely, the DAF, which is registered with the Charity Commission, was in fact set up in December 2013 – two years before the party was thrown.
In June 2016 Abbott gave an interview to Africa News in which she described the work of the DAF.
The Labour MP said: “I have set up Diane Abbott Foundation (sic) and I want to use that charity to build some specific legacies around education and do international works, support families on how to help black boys, in particular, to achieve their dreams.”
Noble aims, but parties come first, it seems.
Usefully, Abbott has provided a breakdown of how the cash that paid for the DAF launch party was spent:
So the shadow home secretary spent £2,511 on “marketing, design and promotion of the event” – almost as much as on the catering costs (£3,149).
And as for spending the best part of £4,000 on “video, photography and media editing” plus “stationery” and “printing”, what can one say other than would you trust this woman to be in charge of the Home Office budget?
There’s another point to note.
Abbott claims that the event at Bercow’s was also held to celebrate 10 years of the awards ceremony linked to London School and Black Child, an “education advice” organisation she set up in 1999. It is not a registered charity.
In August Heat Street revealed that the DAF’s first set of published accounts showed it received £35,000 of income.
Of this, we discovered that £29,072 was spent hosting the 2014 London Schools and the Black Child awards ceremony in parliament. Only £2,000 of this figure was spent on prizes for the children being recognised.
What this means is that in the 24 months between the Diane Abbott Foundation being started in December 2013, and December 2015, it secured £45,000 of funding.
Roughly £40,000 of this cash was spent on costs associated with throwing two parties.
That’s charity, folks.
Heat Street has asked Diane Abbott’s office for a comment but none has been provided so far.