Thursday, 5 February 2015

Tom Watson MP - Who is Donor Derek Webb?

Remember how the expenses-guzzling MP for West Bromwich East, Wealthy Watson, is always banging on about gambling and that his own Labour Party should not have permitted the introduction of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT's)? Of course things haven't always gone smoothly - in 2013 Wealthy cocked-up his own parliamentary vote and voted against his own campaign:

6 December 2013 - BBC News:

"An MP who had pressed the prime minister at PMQs for action over fixed-odd betting machines managed to vote the wrong way in Parliament.

Tom Watson explained to Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics that he "made a mistake, an embarrassing and humiliating one."

The Black Country MP said it was an unusual vote, held through a ballot, but he "no idea" what he was thinking when voting against his wishes, and backed the government."

Of course, Wealthy embraces hundreds of issues which may be "worthy" in a leftie sort of way but are of little or no relevance to his long-suffering constituents and his rare utterances on local issues are frequently disastrous (eg when he said he was going to give his full attention to The Public and just six HOURS later The Turdmeister and Co issued its death warrant!)

I don't know how often he actually walks through West Bromwich but it is certainly a place where his anti-gambling campaign has failed spectacularly:

In the short stretch of the disaster-zone that is West Bromwich High Street between Bull Street and the Town Hall there are 3 slot-machine "arcades"; 2 William Hill's; 1 BetFred; 1 Ladbokes, 1 Coral's and the recently-opened Paddy Power. Mind you, at least if gamblers run short there are no less than FIVE pawnbrokers/money-lenders on the same stretch!

(Lest we forget, Wealthy's cunning comrades on Labour Sandwell Council specifically voted against having any further casinos in the Borough - there being one already, also on West Brom High Street - but then tried to force through a brand-new, er, casino at Birchley Island until they were stopped by the courts!)

In 2014, Watson quite properly declared in his Parliamentary Register of Interests that he had received two lots of cash from a private donor:

Name of donor: Derek Webb
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: sponsorship of constituency party dinner, £2,500
Donor status: individual
(Registered 7 October 2014)

Name of donor: Derek Webb
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £3,000 following the fundraising dinner sponsored by the donations registered on 7 October 2014
Donor status: individual
(Registered 28 October 2014)

I am obviously assuming that the donor "Derek Webb" is NOT this gentleman:

"The Campaign For Fairer Gambling

Derek Webb was a successful poker player, businessman and the inventor of Three Card Poker; a game that is played worldwide on casino tables and is an expert in understanding gambling game content and gambler behaviour. Derek and his partner, Hannah O’Donnell, have retired from commercial activity following an asset sale of their gambling games to a US public company. Derek and Hannah provide funding for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and the Stop the FOBTs Campaign."

Unfortunately, two e-mails to the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and two e-mails plus three phone calls to Wealthy's office have failed to elicit a response.

Anyone know who the mysterious Mr Webb is?

(By the way, Watson also refused to respond to my request about his time at Hull University - see my blog of 31/08/14 "Tom Watson MP - Hull Graduate or Too Much Larkin About?". Anyone out there know the answer to that one too?)


E-mail:       Twitter:   @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

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