Who is David Ross? Everything we know about the Tory donor who “funded” Boris Johnson’s holiday

Boris Johnson is facing questions about whether a man called David Ross funded his extravagant new year’s trip to Mustique with Carrie Symonds.

The Prime Minister has registered the trip as a £15,000 gift from Ross. But Ross denies this, and says he merely helped Johnson find accommodation on the private Caribbean island.


Given his previous behaviour, we have no doubt Boris Johnson will dodge this issue until it disappears from public attention.

Nevertheless, here is everything we know about Ross – Johnson’s personal travel agent.

Business life

Ross is a privately educated billionaire who co-founded Carphone Warehouse. Known in the tabloid press for being a “playboy”, the heir of the now collapsed fishing company, Cosalt, is friends with Gary Lineker,

Ross is reported to be a fan of shooting parties and has previously lived in Switzerland “for tax reasons”.

Aside from this, he runs the David Ross Foundation, which is responsible for over 30 academies and free schools. When Michael Gove was the Education Secretary, he wanted to appoint Ross to lead school inspectorate Ofsted.

Given his many academies, it was decided this would be a conflict of interest.

But Ross has had his fingers in other pies. He was the chairman of bus company National Express until 2008 when he was forced to resign because he used his shares in the business as security for a multi-million pound personal loan.

Involvement in politics

Ross has played an active role in Conservative Party politics. Under David Cameron’s leadership, he was a member of The Leader’s Group – a strange crony network in which top donors were rewarded with access to the PM in exchange for money.

As of 2014, he had donated £220,000 to the party.

And his links to Boris Johnson go beyond whether he funded his recent Caribbean jaunt. While Mayor of London, Johnson nominated Ross to the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games. He later resigned.

Just your average bloke, then.


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