The mystery of Labour's biggest individual donor: A butcher, once fined for bad hygiene, gives £80,000


The Labour Party's biggest private donor in the first week of the election campaign was a butcher from a street market.

Faiz ul Rasool, 39 - who was once fined under hygiene laws for selling potentially poisonous meat - gave Gordon Brown's campaign £80,000.

Mr Rasool, who was two years ago pictured with the Prime Minister at a fundraising dinner, is unknown to the wider public, yet is apparently an important figure for the Labour Party.

And the party's acceptance of his major donation makes an interesting contrast with Labour's frequent attacks on the Conservatives for taking money from big business.

How exactly he accumulated his money is not clear. But he has been registered at Companies House as the director of four companies, three of which have been dissolved.

One of the companies he has been associated with dealt in property, while the other two were food-related businesses.
It was his stall at Brixton street market in South London which incurred a £3,000 fine after a hygiene prosecution six years ago.

At the weekend Mr Rasool was reluctant to discuss his hygiene fine, and gave little detail about his donation to Labour.

Mr Rasool said: 'The donation is from my personal bank account.'
Previous records show the businessman, who lives in a £1million flat in Kensington, gave the party £37,000 in 2008.

He also donated to the failed Labour deputy leadership campaign of Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

Thanks to his dedication to the party, Mr Rasool is vice chairman of the organisation Muslim Friends of Labour - in which capacity he sat alongside Mr Brown at a fundraising dinner in 2008.

The group was a major donor to Labour, funnelling some £300,000 in to the party, until Electoral Commission rules were changed to require individuals to be named as donors, instead of allowing them to give anonymously through a group.

Mr Rasool's own website, 'Faiz4labour' still displays an invitation to allcomers to attend the last Muslim Friends of Labour's last major fundraising dinner, held in London in December, and at which he acted as host.

Tickets for the events cost up to £500,000 a head.
Mr Rasool declared on the website: 'The Labour Party is the party that best represents the British Muslim community.

'As we move closer to the next General Election it is vital that all of our friends and colleagues support the party in any way we can.
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