London: Britain`s prominent Indian-origin
businessman Sir Gulam Noon, who is also known as curry king,
has been appointed an assistant treasurer of the Labour party.
74-year-old Mumbai-born Noon has donated 200,000
pounds and raised another 250,000 pounds from other Muslim
businessmen since taking up the post a month ago.
"I have decided to help the Labour party
wholeheartedly and I would like all to come to the aid of the
party at this critical juncture," Noon told a news agency.
Noon said he was approached last month by Ray Collins,
Labour`s general secretary, and asked to take up the new role.
"I have always been a Labour supporter and wanted to
ensure that Gordon Brown was given an opportunity to finish
off the job that we started under Tony Blair so I accepted
Ray`s invitation," he said.
He decided to give up his favourable Non-Dom
(Non-Domicile) tax status - to which he was entitled because
he was born in India - so that he could join the campaign
without causing embarrassment to the party.
"This country has been very good to me. I am no longer
a non-dom so I can take up a fuller role in its political and
commercial life," he said.
He is one of four people who sit on Labour`s board of
assistant treasurers which was established last September to
raise funds for the party.
The other members are Jack Dromey, the party`s lay
treasurer, Nigel Doughty, founder of an equity firm, and Dave
Prentis, Unison`s general secretary.
Sir Noon said he has raised the money from 10 Muslim
businessmen, and is planning to raise another 50,000 pounds by
the end of the month.
Quoting labour insiders, The Guardian today said that
the party is still "quite a few million" short of the 18
million pounds maximum that can be spent on the general
The Tories are understood to have raised more than
they can spend.
Noon has given nearly 700,000 pounds to Labour over
the last 10 years but has not given a donation of more than
5,000 pounds since the last election.
He was questioned under caution by police in 2005 as
part of Scotland Yard`s investigation into the alleged sale of
honours in exchange for loans towards Labour`s last general
It emerged that he had secretly lent 250,000 pounds to
Labour weeks before he was nominated by Tony Blair for a
At the time he maintained that he was told by a
senior Labour official not to declare the donation on a form
submitted to the House of Lords authorities and was
subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.
Sir Noon said he has since discussed the so-called
"cash-for honours" affair with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown,
and said that both had regretted the way his name had been
dragged into the inquiry.
"The last prime minister and the present prime
minister have both said to me that I was not treated well
during the cash for honours affair. But I did not blame anyone
and I kept my counsel," he said.