Ms Blears said she was urgently investigating suggestions the supply chain for the garments could lead to a firm linked to the disaster in which dozens of people were killed and when the factory building collapsed in April 2005. She also pledged to donate cash to a fund for victims' families and demanded "swift answers" from the supplier over the alleged links as her campaign team
threatened to urge its other customers to mount a boycott until assurances were
provided. Spreadshirt - who supplied garments for the website - was a "highly
reputable and award winning on-line supplier", a statement on hazelblears.com
said. However, one of the items it supplied came from Bangladesh via B&C/The
Cotton Group which, the website statement said, had been a customer of Spectrum,
the firm which operated the factory.
An "angry and upset" Ms Blears took immediate action in a bid to limit any political fallout from the claims with the formal battle to succeed John Prescott expected to begin shortly. A range of merchandise such as "Nuts for Hazel" T-shirts, "Hazel Beers" beer mats and mousemats featuring Ms Blears in her biking leathers have been the subject of much Westminster discussion. She said: "It has been brought to my attention that one of the T-shirts available on my deputy leadership campaign website can be sourced up the supply chain to a company linked to a tragic disaster two years ago at the Spectrum Factory in Bangladesh. I am investigating this claim with some urgency. I am angry and upset at any suggestion that a company my campaign is using might be unethical in any way. My online campaign shop is supplied by www.spreadshirt.co.uk which appears to be a reputable company." She said that as well as suspending the shop section of the site, she had written to Spreadshirt and would be contacting some of the company's other clients. "I shall be making a personal donation to the families affected by the Spectrum disaster two years ago," she said, adding that she would also ask a campaign volunteer who was visiting Bangladesh in the near future to meet with representatives of the workers.
The word 'rattled' springs to mind.