Lush caught up in Labour Party bath bomb sale scandal

Published: 7-Mar-2017

Products donated by Lush end up being passed on and sold to raise funds for Ramsgate Labour campaign

A Labour party councillor has apologised after selling Lush products to raise funds for a local campaign in Ramsgate, in east Kent.

Cllr Karen Constantine, who plans to stand in May’s Kent County Council election, raised £415 from the table-top sale held at Churchill Tavern Pub & Restaurant in Ramsgate on 18 February.

However, concerns have been raised over whether the sale breaches election funding laws because the products were initially donated by Lush to charity The Kindness Offensive.

Lush told Cosmetics Business: "Like most companies, we sometimes have stock that has gone past our strict internal 'sell by' date, but still has some time left on it before its 'use by' date.

"When we have unsold stock like this, rather than send it to our composting service, we prefer to see if there are any good causes we can send it to.

"The rules for all such stock donations are that product is never re-sold, but is given into the hands of end users who can benefit from it. As such, our product donations usually go to hospices, children's homes, women's refuge and care homes etc."

Domino effect

In a convoluted series of events, Lush is reported to have offered a 100-tonne delivery of its products to the London-based charity, which carries out ‘random acts of kindness’.

The products were passed on to 38 different charities including Food For All, an organisation that distributes food to the needy.

However, some of the items were then offered to Cllr Constantine, who is reported to have collected them from London, according to Kent Online.

Legal blunder

Cllr Constantine is said to be unaware that she broke electoral law by using the donated goods to raised funds for a political campaign.

In a statement she said: ““I fully apologise for not knowing the election funding laws regarding charities.

"Once the law was made clear to me and I realised there was a mistake I took immediate steps to ensure monies raised – £415 – were donated to local charities.

“I am sorry that this happened and unreservedly apologise. This will not happen again."

Questions raised

However, the case is not entirely closed and has been taken up by government charity watchdog The Charity Commission.

The Commission told Cosmetics Business: “Concerns have been raised with the Commission about the charity Food for All, regarding the use of a donation.

“We have contacted the trustees in order to assess whether there is a regulatory role for the Commission. No formal inquiry has, at this point, been opened.”

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