Labour MP lifts the lid on 'disappointing' dealings with JustGiving lobbyists
Neil Coyle claims that the firm sent 'ill-informed representatives' to meet with him.
A Labour MP has hit out at JustGiving’s approach to working with MPs as he calls on the fundraising platform to pay back £500,000 of public donations.
Neil Coyle has written to JustGiving CEO Jerry Needel saying it was “disappointing to have been sent ill-informed representatives” for a meeting earlier this year. He also complained that Just Giving never sent information that he had requested.
It comes as Coyle has been victorious in a campaign to get JustGiving to remove its 5% fee for donations to disaster and major incident funds. In the latest issue of The House magazine, Coyle is named as ‘campaigner of the week’.
Following the London Bridge attack, Coyle had meetings with the Treasury and sports and charities minister Tracey Crouch. He also met with Just Giving’s general manager and PR director, but found them to be resistant to changes to their funding structure. Just Giving retains Headland for public affairs, but it is understood that the agency was not involved in the meeting.
Last week, Coyle responded to the news that JustGiving was to remove its 5% fee for donations to disaster and major incident funds by calling for £500,000 and an apology from the platform.
In his letter to the firm’s CEO, seen by The House, the MP writes: “Last year, victims including many children and families in my community as well as those affected by the Manchester Arena terror attack and Grenfell missed out on £500,000 of public donations which JustGiving retained…
“I am glad JustGiving now accept the callous nature of this policy and will not collect profits from future terrorism or major disasters in the UK. Your representatives did not suggest such a change was pending when we met earlier this year. It is disappointing to have been sent ill-informed representatives on such a sensitive issue.”
One lobbyist who read about the row in Friday’s lobbying lowdown email responded saying he had “never seen an MP get as wound up as Coyle” by a meeting with government relations professionals. Tensions were also heightened when Just Giving’s PR director infuriated the Labour MP and his team with comments on social media.
Coyle has now requested a meeting with JustGiving’s CEO “to discuss how the money taken last year could be returned and whether JustGiving will now apologise for this horrendous breach of faith”.