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Scottish Labour leader bets on email absolution

'I raised alarm on dodgy donation'

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Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander is staking her political future on emails that she says prove that as soon as she knew about a gift to her campaign from a tax exile, she flagged it as potentially shady.

She promised yesterday to make the files available to the Electoral Commission in a bid to clear her name in the donations row north of the border. They will show that she initiated inquiries into the £950 contribution, it's claimed.

Alexander said yesterday: "I have no doubt that when the Electoral Commission looks at all the facts, I will be exonerated of any intentional wrongdoing."

Revelations emerged at the weekend that someone on her leadership campaign team questioned the donation from Jersey businessman on November 5, several weeks before it came to light. The incriminating tag "permissable?" was discovered in metadata saved to a MS Word file, on a computer administered by Alexander's husband.

Alexander and her spokespeople have denied she knew about the dodgy cash until Thursday last week. They have blamed Charlie Gordon, Scottish Labour's transport spokesman, who resigned his front bench post yesterday. It is alleged that he concealed the donation by telling Alexander it came from a legitimate UK business, rather than a individual.

Paul Green, the man who gave the money, said it is a "mystery" why Gordon would do this, the Herald reports.

Gordon Brown has given the embattled Alexander support to stay on as leader. "Of course I want you to stay but you must do what is best for your family," the Times reports he told her on Sunday. A meeting of Labour MSPs yesterday also backed her leadership.

The SNP has accused Labour of using Alexander as a "human shield" to deflect attention from the David Abrahams funding row that has engulfed the Westminster party. The North East property developer gave hundreds of thousands of pounds to Labour illegally through third parties. ®

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