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Who is David Abrahams?

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 27 November 2007

Not, as it turns out, such a straightforward question after all...

Much has been said about the mysterious life of David Abrahams - the man whose anonymous donations to the Labour party have led to the resignation of Secretary General Peter Watt and a row amongst cabinet ministers - over the last 48 hours.

There have been claims of a pretend wife, a bogus son, a made up name and a fictional date of birth.

Abrahams was born into politics. The son of a former lord mayor of Newcastle who, according to contemporaries, was a prominent figure in Labour circles "with a name that could open doors".

His mother was also a Labour councillor and, by the 1970s Abrahams too ventured into the political arena.

His first foray was representing an inner-city Newcastle ward in a "safe seat" on the Tyne and Wear Metropolitan County Council.

He lost the seat four years later but by the 1990s he had set his sights somewhat higher. In 1991 he presented himself at a Labour selection meeting accompanied by a woman and a boy who were introduced as his wife and son.

He won the nomination to represent Labour in Parliament and a press release was reportedly issued stating that he lived with his wife and son in Newcastle.

Trouble was, the woman in question - Anthea Bailey - then admitted to a regional newspaper that she and her son were in fact not related to Mr Abrahams, nor did they live with him and that the whole thing was an elaborate charade to "boost his image".


Surprisingly, perhaps, given the embarrassment of so many revelations, Abrahams did not give up on his political ambitions.

Apparently Ms Bailey had met Abrahams while unemployed and looking for a place to live. They agreed that he would provide her and her son accomodation and pay his school fees for a term in return that she pretended to be his wife.

Abrahams described the allegations as "false" and part of a smear campaign but this wasn't the end of it. It then came out that he was not, as he had claimed, 41-years-old, but actually 46.

To add further damage to his carefully constructed public image, it transpired that he also went by the name of David Martin, a North-East property developer who was about to appear in court charged with illegally evicting a tenant.

Although cleared of these charges, and having admitted that his full name was in fact David Martin Abrahams and that he dropped the latter only for business arrangements at the suggestion of his father, he was ousted from Richmond after two de-selection votes.

Surprisingly, perhaps, given the embarrassment of so many revelations, Abrahams did not give up on his political ambitions, running for the seat of Wansbeck near Newcastle.

In light of the latest donations revelations, Mr Abrahams has been described by some who know him as a fantasist and by one former colleague as "something of a Walter Mitty character".

One Labour politician who has known Abrahams for many years said: "He likes to think of himself as a bit of a power broker, but he has never had any real influence. I'd be amazed if there is any real scandal behind this."

But another former Labour acquaintance said: "When I saw him on the television after all these years, so close to Blair at that final gathering in Sedgefield, the alarm bells started ringing straight away".

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