Liberal Democrat peer resigns over allegation he accepted illegal donation

House Of Lords

A Liberal Democrat peer has resigned from the party and the Electoral Commission has begun an investigation into claims that he accepted a potentially illegal donation.

Paul Strasburger said he had been informed that the allegations would be made against him in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme due to be aired on Monday and that he had referred the allegations against himself to the authority.

“Whatever Channel 4 may say in their Dispatches programme, I do not think I have committed any offence. Having said that, I believe that we should all be accountable for what we do, so I have invited the Electoral Commission to carry out an investigation into my actions,” Lord Strasburger said in a statement released on Friday night.

“In the meantime, whilst I maintain that I have committed no offence, I have stopped fundraising for the party. Also, for the sake of the party, I have resigned the whip from the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords until the investigation is completed.”

He said that he had been a victim of entrapment by the television programme.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “Dispatches has raised important questions about one particular donation, which the party is taking seriously. The party had no reason to believe that the donation was made by anyone other than the person who signed the cheque.”

The spokesman added that the party had asked the Electoral Commission whether the donation should be handed to the commission or returned to the donor.

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission was unable to confirm on Friday night whether it had yet received the referral from Lord Strasburger.

Channel 4 did not respond to a request for comment.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Kevin Rawlinson, for theguardian.com on Saturday 21st March 2015 01.05 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010