A recruitment mogul named Peter Hearn has become one of Britain’s opposition Labor party’s most generous donors, linked to more than £1million in donations over the past decade, most recently through a corporate vehicle with no website.
Hearn has been a consistent donor to Labor since 2014, making gifts to both the central party and some of its prominent MPs.
Hearn, who made his fortune in the recruitment industry through companies like PSD and Odgers Berndtson, last gave money as an individual in 2019 with donations to prominent Labor MPs Wes Streeting, Yvette Cooper and Dan Jarvis.
He has since moved on to making donations through a company called MPM Connect, of which he is a director alongside Simon Murphy, the entrepreneur behind the redevelopment of London’s Battersea Power Station.
Labor has made a virtue of the fact that it is now raising more money from businesspeople than at any time since it last came to power, reflecting the pro-business stance of its leader Keir Starmer.
Private donations to the party last autumn included £500,000 from Francesca Perrin, daughter of Lord Sainsbury, former chairman of the supermarket chain of the same name, and £50,000 from a former Conservative donor Gareth Quarry.
MPM Connect has no website and its published accounts in Companies House do not say where its funding comes from or what it actually does. The company’s most recent financial statements state that it has “zero” employees.
Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, has received £184,317 from MPM during the ongoing Parliament, which started in 2019, according to Westminster Accounts, a new searchable database of MPs’ outside earnings and donations set up by Sky News and Tortoise Media would .
Streeting, the shadow health minister, has received £60,000 from the firm, while Jarvis, the former mayor of South Yorkshire, has received £100,000.
The total of £344,317 makes MPM Connect one of the biggest donors for individual MPs.
Hearn previously personally donated over £844,000 to the Labor Party and individual Labor MPs between 2014 and 2019.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday asked whether it was right that “companies that don’t seem to exist” could donate to MPs, adding he was in favor of transparency. “It is absolutely correct that it is about donations and external interests. Transparency is a good thing. I fully support that,” he said.
A spokesman for Cooper said the donation was “fully declared and compliant with all rules” and that MPM Connect was registered with its accountants’ office.
“MPM Connect is a employment sector investment company owned by Peter Hearn, a British businessman and long-time Labor supporter, and as has been widely reported, Mr Hearn has kindly donated money to fund Yvette’s office staff and has done so for many years,” she said.
“Everything has been fully declared and conforms to all the rules. Like many companies, MPM Connect is registered with their accounting office, as per the Companies House listing.”
A Streeting spokesperson said, “Peter has kindly funded staff for Wes’ office. Wes is proud to have successful business people supporting the Labor Party as we campaign to win the next election and give Britain the fresh start it deserves. This has been duly explained, as required by the regulations.”
Jarvis said the money supported the running of his offices and was fully registered with the Commons authorities. “Details of MPM Connect, a jobs investment company, and its director, Peter Hearn, a UK businessman and longtime Labor supporter, are available on Companies House. The address listed is that of MPM Connect’s accountants.”
https://www.ft.com/content/124e1566-e5dc-4e1e-8ca4-082bf272f6e6 The recruiting mogul turns out to be the UK Labor Party’s biggest donor