LABOUR deputy leader Tom Watson should “consider seriously” his links with Max Mosley if the latter has not changed his views on migrants, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said yesterday.
The former Formula One boss Mr Mosley was interviewed by Channel 4 News last week over a pamphlet that he had published for a fascist by-election candidate in 1961.
The leaflet, unearthed by the Daily Mail, had been issued by the student barrister in support of Walter Hesketh, of his father Sir Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement, in the city’s Moss Side. It claimed that non-white immigrants were responsible for diseases such as tuberculosis, venereal disease and leprosy.
In his interview, Mr Mosley admitted believing at the time that “financial inducements should be offered to persuade [immigrants] to go home.” He added that whether or not he still held those views was “completely academic because we’re 50-odd years on.”
Mr Mosley had denied knowledge of the leaflet during a successful 2008 privacy action against the News of the World. The High Court ruled that the now defunct tabloid had falsely accused him of taking part in a “sick nazi orgy.”
Since then, Mr Mosley has campaigned for tighter press regulation and has donated funds to state-backed regulator Impress. He has also donated more than £500,000 to shadow culture, media & sport secretary Mr Watson after the latter supported full implementation of Leveson inquiry recommendations over press conduct.
The Mail’s story, questioning whether Mr Mosley had perjured himself in the privacy case, emerged the day before the government ditched the planned second stage of the inquiry.
Mr McDonnell told Sky News: “Of course [financial incentives for immigrants] is not our view and it’s the sort of proposals which we’ve condemned in the past outright.”
When asked if Mr Watson should return Mr Mosley’s donation, he said: “The money was given to Tom. Tom took that decision, he took that decision on the basis, I believe, that Max Mosley’s views had changed from years ago.”
He added: “If those are the same views now, well Tom will really need to consider seriously exactly that relationship with Max Mosley and the finances as well.”
Mr Watson said last week that he would never have given Mr Mosley “the time of day” if the latter still held those beliefs.
Labour has said neither Mr Watson nor the party would take any further payments from Mr Mosley.
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