League Against Cruel Sports denies hacking reports

09 Oct 2018 News

The League Against Cruel Sports has denied that it sought to hack the computer of the leader of the Countryside Alliance.

The League Against Cruel Sports has responded to allegations in the Times that “it sought to hack into the computer of the leader of the Countryside Alliance”. However the Charity Commission has said it is “assessing information provided and engaging with the charity to determine our next steps”.

The Times reported that Chris Williamson, a Labour MP who led the league for a decade, alerted the Charity Commission to the allegation after he was suspended.

The article states that the league “asked a computer expert to snoop on the email account of Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, which supports hunting.”

In a statement in response to the article, the League Against Cruel Sports said it refuted the allegations.

It said: “These allegations are completely false. It is nonsense to say the League sought to hack the computer of the leader of the Countryside Alliance. It is also completely false to claim that the Charity Commission is investigating the League over this. We have had no such notification from them about his, and expect none. 

“This story is motivated purely by ex-trustees with a grudge against the League and who clearly felt it in the best interests of the anti-hunt movement to take their story to a pro-hunting newspaper.”

It said that Williamson “was not expelled from the League because ‘he was on holiday’ during a disciplinary hearing, as is alleged. Mr Williamson, who has rarely attended board meetings for the League for several years, was expelled after he supported someone who was abusing League members of staff. He was offered 12 opportunities to make his case to trustees – that he did not accept these offers suggests he had no case to make.”

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that serious concerns have been brought to us about The League Against Cruel Sports. The public rightly hold charities to a high standard of conduct, and expect charities to be driven by their charitable purpose and ethos in everything they do. 

“We therefore take allegations of inappropriate behaviour, especially by senior leaders in charities, extremely seriously. We are now assessing the information provided, and engaging with the charity to determine our next steps.”

Williamson tweeted a statement on Saturday saying he “suspended severals week ago and have now been expelled after raising concerns about senior management and trustees”.

He called for an emergency general meeting to discuss the organisation’s future.


More on