Is Chuka ready to chuck Labour? Register of members interest shows MP has received series of donations from prominent party supporters
Chuka Umunna (pictured) has been the MP for Streatham since 2010?
Are moderate Labour MPs, denied a voice on the conference platform, now wooing donors to build up a war chest to fund a break-away political party?
I ask only because the latest Register of MPs' interests reveals some intriguing donations made to the office of Chuka Umunna, an ex-shadow business secretary.
Many frustrated Labour MPs believe he is best placed to deliver them from the political wilderness.
The register shows that Umunna received ￡25,000 from Sir Victor Blank, the former chairman of Lloyds TSB, who has been a generous supporter of Labour in the past. He gave ￡150,000 in the run-up to the 2015 election when Red Ed Miliband was leader.
Umunna was also handed ￡15,000 by property tycoon Sir David Garrard, who gave around ￡700,000 to Labour — before Corbyn was leader. And he's garnered ￡5,000 from Lord Myners, the former M&S chairman who was City minister under Gordon Brown.
The MP for Streatham since 2010, Umunna ran — briefly — for the Labour leadership in 2015. He withdrew citing a desire to protect his private life from scrutiny.
In public he insists he's loyal to Labour, telling the New Statesman: 'I'm quite tribal about this. The only way you're going to have progress in this country is through the Labour Party.'
But he's more estranged than ever from the leadership after tabling a rebel amendment in June to the Queen's Speech on Brexit which would keep Britain in the single market should the Prime Minister fail to negotiate a deal.
Forty-nine Labour MPs, including four frontbenchers — who were later sacked by Comrade Corbyn — backed it.
Umunna will not be forgiven by the Corbynistas, which is why he might just be tempted to jump ship.
Corbyn's fan club!?
Sitting side by side at the Labour conference were the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and Laura Alvarez, who is Jeremy Corbyn's third wife.
Abbott and Mrs Corbyn, who imports fair trade coffee from her native Mexico, are bonded not just by their Left-wing beliefs.
Abbott became Corbyn's lover after discussing socialism over cups of tea and tins of cold baked beans in the Seventies. Teetotal Corbyn's pet cat, named Harold Wilson after the former Labour Prime Minister, kept them company. The lovers later took a motorbike holiday to East Germany, led at the time by hardline communist Erich Honecker.
'Their politics were probably not dissimilar,' says one veteran Labour MP tartly.
Sitting side by side at the Labour conference were the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and Laura Alvarez, who is Jeremy Corbyn's third wife (pictured)
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry was cheered for saying: 'Labour can and will do things differently . . . Our mission must be to put Labour values at the heart of the world order.'
One architect of her speech was Gordon Brown's old spin doctor, Damian McBride, sacked after being exposed for inventing smears against Tory MPs. So much for Labour values. . .
Trotskyist former Newsnight reporter Paul Mason, who's perfectly at home with the Corbynistas, is giddy with the far-Left conference rhetoric. 'It's a breath of fresh air and reminds me of 1980,' he said. Just 17 years until a Labour government, then.
Former shadow cabinet member Michael Dugher, who quit in despair at Jezza's fantasy politics, mocked union paymaster Len McCluskey after he claimed it was Labour wot really won the General Election.
'Rumours that Labour MPs sit on the opposition benches & that Jeremy doesn't live at No 10 are FAKE NEWS,' Dugher tweeted.
Steering clear of dreary Keir?
As Sir Keir Starmer was boring delegates with his lacklustre Brexit speech, a man he sent to prison was doing a roaring trade in the conference bookshop.
Starmer was Director of Public Prosecutions when Labour MP and former Europe Minister, Denis MacShane, was charged with fiddling ￡12,900 in parliamentary expenses. In November 2013, he was sentenced to six months (and served six weeks).
MacShane, who never benefited personally, used the money to fund EU research trips.
He was in the bookshop signing copies of his new book Brexit, No Exit. They were flying off the shelves.
Sir Keir Starmer?was Director of Public Prosecutions when Labour MP and former Europe Minister, Denis MacShane, was charged with fiddling ￡12,900 in parliamentary expenses
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