Labour has said it will not accept any more donations from privacy campaigner Max Mosley following the disclosure that he published a campaign leaflet linking non-white immigrants with diseases.
The pamphlet, supporting a candidate for his father Sir Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement in a 1961 by-election, was unearthed by the Daily Mail in historical archives in Manchester.
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A senior Labour source described the views expressed as “repugnant” and said that neither deputy leader Tom Watson, who has received more than £500,000 in donations from Mosley, nor the party would take any further payments from the ex Formula 1 chief.
“The Labour Party has moved away [from] large-scale donations from wealthy individuals,” the source said.
“I don’t believe that there will be any more payments from Max Mosley to the Labour Party or Tom Watson. The last payments were made last year.”
The Daily Mail said its discovery raises questions over evidence which Mosley gave under oath in a High Court trial when he successfully sued the News of the World in 2008.
But Mosley insisted he did not recall the leaflet, and said he would not be deterred from his campaign for reforms to protect ordinary people from press abuses.
Asked during the 2008 trial about his political activities as a young man, Mosley acknowledged he was election agent for Union Movement candidate Walter Hesketh in the 1961 by-election in Moss Side.
But he said it was “absolute nonsense” to suggest he had put out leaflets alleging that coloured immigrants brought diseases with them.
The election handout found by the Mail states that it was “published by Max Mosley” and includes the warning: “Tuberculosis, VD and other terrible diseases like leprosy are on the increase. Coloured immigration threatens your children’s health.”
The document came to light as Mosley pursues an effort to prevent newspapers from referring to the sex party reported in the News of the World which prompted the 2008 court case.
Mosley has campaigned for tighter press regulation since the now-defunct Sunday tabloid wrongly reported the party was “Nazi-themed”.
He has donated funds to Impress, the small regulator which has been recognised by the Press Recognition Panel under the Royal Charter, but has few publications signed up.
Impress is funded by the Independent Press Regulation Trust to the tune of £3.8m over four years to 2019. The IPRT in turn is solely funded by the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust, which has Mosley as a trustee.
The vast majority of the national, regional and local press are signed up to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which is not recognised by the PRP and has made clear that it has no intention of seeking recognition.
Impress has said in a statement: “Impress is entirely independent of the publishers we regulate and the donors who support our work. Our code holds our publishers to high standards. Unlike IPSO, we prohibit racism and all forms of hate speech against vulnerable groups.’
In a statement to Press Gazette, Mosley said: “The Daily Mail claim to have unearthed a leaflet said to have been published in 1961 during Walter Hesketh’s campaign in Moss Side.
“I was asked about this in the News of the World case. I had absolutely no recollection of it.
“My political activities in the 1950s and early 1960s were completely irrelevant to the question of whether the News of the World had illegally invaded my privacy, as it clear from the judgement.
He added: “Nevertheless, I knew that if the News of the World thought the leaflet relevant, they would have disclosed it because the courts don’t like ambushes.
“The fact that they didn’t reinforced my view that no such leaflet existed. The suggestion that I lied in court is obviously nonsense.
“Now that I’ve seen copies of this leaflet, I still do not recognise it. It is not something I would have ever wished to be associated with. It is offensive and divisive.
“By contrast, I campaigned to stamp out racism in motor sport. The Daily Mail’s attack over my work for my father’s party, which ended in 1963, is plainly in response to my recent letter of claim.
“Like many people, my views have changed over the last half century. Meanwhile, the Mail’s reporting on immigration and health in far more recent times has been hugely offensive to the UK immigrant communities.
“The Mail do this without fear of sanction from a proper regulator. It’s easy to see why they are against reform.”
Mosley told Channel 4 News in an interview last night that the leaflet “probably is racist” but that he wasn’t sure if it was genuine.
He also said he “absolutely” intended to give more money to Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson.
In a statement, Watson said: “My views on press regulation are well known and have not changed.
“The views expressed by Max as a young man are not the views he holds now, just as the [Daily Mail-owning] Rothermere family no longer uses its newspapers to support fascism.”
Picture: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth