Minister to ask about Labour-leaning Catz Club staff

New Cabinet Office minister Liam Byrne has agreed to make inquiries about the roles played by two people with Labour Party connections in the funding of childcare charity Catz Club by Futurebuilders England.

Margaret McDonagh, former general secretary of the Labour Party, is a former trustee of the childcare charity, which trades under the name Schoolfriendetc. Amanda Delew, who fundraises for the charity, is an ex-Labour fundraiser.

Futurebuilders, a £215m government fund to help charities deliver public services, awarded a £1.8m loan and £200,000 grant to the childcare charity in 2005.

Their relationship ended this year, shortly before the Charity Commission ordered Catz Club to take back a £7,500 donation to Labour. According to the charity's latest accounts for the year ending September 2006, it is £3.5m in debt.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude asked Byrne in the House of Commons on Wednesday whether he would look into the roles played by McDonagh and Delew.

Byrne said: "Political parties' members of staff are entitled to go on and do other things." But he added: "Now that the case has been brought to my attention, I will of course do what I can to review it and to correspond with him."

The Charity Commission has been probing governance concerns at the charity since September last year.

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