Labour's Andy Burnham denies taking cash for access

Andy Burnham has denied taking cash for access from someone posing as a foreign donor. Credit: PA

Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has denied taking cash for access after an undercover journalist was offered a face-to-face meeting with the MP in return for a cash gift.

An undercover journalist for The Sun posing as a wealthy foreign donor, gave £5,000 to Faiz ul Rasool, a businessman and Labour Party donor, who arranged for him to meet Mr Burnham.

The newspaper said the journalist, using the name 'Mr Arshad' was invited to a reception two days later, on Monday, at the Labour Party's London HQ where he was introduced to the Leigh MP.

At the reception, another donation of £3,000 was handed to a campaign aide by someone posing as Mr Arshad's British wife, the newspaper reported.

Mr Rasool is said to be one of Labour's major donors and a photograph of him recently appeared on Mr Burnham's campaign twitter account where he was described as a "campaign star".

A spokesman for Mr Burnham said that, while Mr Rasool had previously donated money to his campaign, he had no role in his team.

A source in the Burnham camp said the leadership campaign had no knowledge of the £5,000 reportedly handed over in cash in a Mayfair casino.

Faiz ul Rasool has had no role, formal or informal, within the Burnham campaign. He made a donation in July of £5,000, which was declared in accordance with standard compliance rules. Mr Arshad was not invited to the reception held at campaign HQ on Monday evening and the event organisers were not notified that another guest was planning to bring him along. He asked for a photograph next to Andy, with people he claimed were his wife and baby. During the event, (the donor) Mr Arshad - who was not introduced under that name - presented an unsolicited cheque to a campaign staffer in the names of Mr A Ali and Miss N K Khan. Our routine due diligence threw up a number of discrepancies and as a result, the cheque was never cashed.

Spokesperson for Andy Burnham

Mr Rasool has made significant donations to Labour in the past, and is chair of Muslim Friends of Labour and Labour Friends of Pakistan.