Charity watchdog debates probe into Galloway's appeal

The Charity Commission is deciding this week whether it has the powers to investigate Labour MP George Galloway's Mariam Appeal, the organisation set up to provide treatment in Britain for an Iraqi child suffering from leukaemia.

Following a complaint that the appeal's funds might have been used to pay the anti-war MP's travel expenses, the commission is to undertake a fact-finding evaluation of the organisation.

The appeal is not registered as a charity, but the commission could still have jurisdiction over it if it is deemed to have a charitable purpose.

Stephen Lloyd, partner at law firm Bates, Wells and Braithwaite, said: "Unincorporated organisations are not registered as companies or with the commission.

"An appeal for one person is not charitable, but it is possible that the organisation morphed into one that had a charitable purpose. It depends on how fundraising material was phrased."

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