The Conservative Party has recently received donations from the owner of Wetherspoons, a secretive dining club, and the billionaire who “funded” Boris Johnson’s luxury Christmas Caribbean holiday, new information has revealed.
According to the latest figures published by the Electoral Commission, the Tories received £38 million in donations in the last quarter of 2019, before the general election, and some of the donors are quite notable.
Tim Martin, owner of Wetherspoons and ardent Brexiteer gave the party £50,000 – matching a previous donation he made in the last quarter.
Meanwhile, David Ross, a billionaire who recently denied funding Boris Johnson’s £15,000 holiday to Mustique, lightened his pockets significantly by giving £269,000 to various branches of the party, including £250,000 to the central party.
Lord Michael Farmer also proved a big donor to the party last quarter. He gave £300,000 to the central party and spattered a further £29,000 around local branches. His politics differ from that of his similarly wealth son, George Farmer, who has previously donated £100,000 to the Brexit Party.
But not all of the donations came from known figures. Indeed, a huge amount of money was spent anonymously through United & Cecil, a secretive dining club which directs anonymous cash to marginal Tory seats.
In the last quarter, the dodgy society made 67 small donations amounting to £145,000. This included a £2,500 donation to Southampton Itchen, which no doubt helped boost MP Royston Smith’s previous majority of 31 to 4,498, and Warrington South, another Tory marginal.
And another society, Tory private member’s club the Carlton Club, donated £56,000 to the party through 17 local donations.
Meanwhile, those closely linked to the party emptied their pockets to ensure its success. Zac Goldsmith, still a minister despite losing his seat at the election, gave Cardiff North Tories £2,000 in November, weeks before the general election. Sadly for him, his money was wasted, after Labour MP Anna McMorrin maintained her majority.
And Zac is not the only member of his family to have donated to the Tory party fighting fund.
His mother, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, whose other children include Robin Birley – owner of a controversial private member’s club 5 Hertford Street – also donated generously to the Tories. As well as matching a previous £20,000 donation to the central branch, in early November she gave £20,000 to the Richmond Park Tories, where her son was the incumbent MP.
Despite his mum’s best efforts, Goldsmith lost his seat to Sarah Olney of the Liberal Democrats.
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