After revelation of Mosley ‘racist’ pamphlet, payments to party or Tom Watson will be declined

Labour will no longer accept donations from the privacy campaigner Max Mosley following accusations that he published a leaflet in the 1960s linking immigrants with disease, Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman has said.

The party had no plans, however, to return £500,000 that had already been handed over by the racing tycoon to the office of the deputy leader, Tom Watson, the spokesman said.

Labour’s decision to cut ties with Mosley came as the former FIA motorsport boss launched a counter attack against the Daily Mail, after it revealed that he had published the racist pamphlet in 1961, hinting that he could sue the newspaper.

It is understood that Mosley now accepts that the pamphlet is genuine, having initially questioned its existence in a television interview.

He said that “it was entirely in the hands of my lawyers” as to what he would do next after the Daily Mail asked whether he had committed perjury in a court case when asked about the leaflet. “The Mail’s reporting on immigration and health is far more offensive to the UK’s immigrant communities,” he said.

In response to Labour’s decision to reject any further donations, Mosley said: “It’s entirely up to them what they do.”

The pamphlet backed a candidate standing in a 1961 byelection for the far-right Union Movement, the party founded by Max’s father, Sir Oswald Mosley. The election leaflet states that it was “published by Max Mosley”.

Questions have been raised about evidence that Mosley gave under oath in a high court trial when he successfully sued the now-defunct News of the World in 2008. News Group Newspapers, former owner of the News Of The World, said it had instructed lawyers to examine Mosley’s testimony following the discovery of the leaflet.

The Mail sent a dossier to the Crown Prosecution Service on Wednesday regarding Mosley’s evidence in the 2008 trial, which the CPS said it had passed to the Metropolitan police, who said they would carry out an assessment of it.

News UK, then publisher of the News of the World, added that it had instructed its own lawyers “to consider the impact of the revelations and Mr Mosley’s responses” with the intention of “considering all our legal options”.

The Daily Mail unearthed the pamphlet in archives in Manchester. It includes the warning: “Protect your health. There is no medical check on immigration. Tuberculosis, VD and other terrible diseases like leprosy are on the increase. Coloured immigration threatens your children’s health.”

It also states: “If enough people vote for me in this election, the government … will be sending coloured immigrants home, instead of bringing more in.” It urges voters to “let us give the coloured people a fair deal by sending them back to good jobs and good wages at home in Jamaica”.

When asked if he was a racist at that time, Mosley would not answer, saying only that he planned to release a statement via his lawyers on the subject shortly. But he said that he was not racist now. “I ran campaigns to stamp out racism when I ran the FIA. You can’t be racist when you run a world organisation with members from 130 countries. The only thing that mattered was ability.”

Replying to journalists’ questions about the Mosley party donations, Corbyn’s spokesman said: “I don’t think there will be any more payments to the Labour party or Tom Watson. We have moved away from large individual donations and they will be judged on the criteria of whether they are appropriate or ethical for the Labour party to accept.”

Asked if £500,000 received by Labour on behalf of Watson’s office would be returned to Mosley, the spokesman added: “[The donations] were made on the basis that they stood, but there won’t be any further donations.”

Watson’s office and parliamentary activities could be curtailed without Mosley’s donation. The deputy leader and his staff have been seen as an alternative power base for many anti-Corbyn MPs. According to official parliamentary registers, Watson, the MP for West Bromwich East, has one of the best resourced offices in Westminster, with nine members of staff.

Mosley has insisted that he did not recall the leaflet, and said he would not be deterred from his campaign for reforms to protect people from press abuses.

Asked in the 2008 trial about his political activities as a young man, Mosley acknowledged that he was the election agent for the Union Movement candidate Walter Hesketh in the 1961 byelection in Moss Side. But he said it was “absolute nonsense” to suggest that he had put out leaflets alleging that immigrants brought diseases with them.

Pressed on whether the literature urged voters to “send blacks home”, he replied: “Not as I recall.”

Mosley, a former head of Formula 1, campaigned for tighter press regulation after the News of the World , which closed down in 2011, falsely said he had taken part in a gathering with “Nazi-themes”. Mosley has also funded the press regulator Impress.

Asked by Channel 4 News on Tuesday about the line in the 60s pamphlet suggesting “coloured immigration threatens your children’s health”, Mosley said: “I think that probably is racist. I will concede that completely.”

Mosley also insisted on Tuesday that he would continue to give money to Labour. The £500,000 he donated to the party was given in two tranches, £200,000 in June 2016 and £300,000 six months later.

Asked by Channel 4 News on Tuesday about the line in the 60s pamphlet suggesting “coloured immigration threatens your children’s health”, Mosley said: “I think that probably is racist. I will concede that completely.”

Mosley also insisted on Tuesday that he would continue to give money to Labour. The £500,000 he donated to the party was given in two tranches, £200,000 in June 2016 and £300,000 six months later.

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