Pizza entrepreneur’s £775,000 gift to Lib Dems questioned – Telegraph

The Sunday Telegraph reports that “the Liberal Democrats are facing an investigation into one of the party’s largest donors”. Part of the reports reads as follows:

The Electoral Commission has been asked to examine whether £775,000 paid to the Lib Dems by Rumi Verjee, the entrepreneur who brought Domino’s Pizzas to Britain, is an “impermissible donation”.

The payments were made through Brompton Capital Limited, a company with no staff that has not recorded a turnover since 2003.

Mr Verjee dined with Nick Clegg at Chevening, the grace and favour mansion in Kent used by the Lib Dem leader, a month after the second £250,000 donation was paid in May last year.

A Labour MP has written to the Electoral Commission urging the watchdog to investigate whether Brompton is a “permissible donor” and whether the Lib Dems carried out adequate checks when accepting the money.

…Last night the Lib Dems said Brompton’s donations complied with the law and that it carried out the appropriate checks. However, their defence raised fresh questions, as the party cited Brompton’s development of a London property early last decade as evidence it was an valid company.

“Brompton Capital’s donations to the Liberal Democrats have been fully checked by the party for permissibility and the company meets every requirement,” a party spokesman said.

“Each donation has also been fully checked for permissibility by the Electoral Commission. Brompton Capital is a permissible donor and any suggestion otherwise is completely untrue.

“It is a legitimate UK company which has undertaken major projects such as the development of the Old Brompton hospital, paying full UK tax.

“The company has sought numerous other development schemes in the UK and continues to do so. We are therefore satisfied that the company carries on a business in accordance with The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.”

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9 Comments

  • Why would someone donate £775,000 to a political party? How do we know that the donor does not want something in return? Why should very wealthy people be allowed to fund political parties in this way?

  • @Ed Shepherd:

    “Why would someone donate £775,000 to a political party? ?”

    Sometimes it is because they genuinely wish to support the forces of political change. Sometimes it is because they want to hob nob with the ruling elite. And sometimes they just want ‘a pizza the action’. :-)

  • Why did Zac Goldsmith give the Green Party money, why do trades unions fund the Labour Party. “Should very wealthy people be allowed to fund political parties in this way?” NO!

  • Richard Dean 23rd Dec '12 - 12:00pm

    Why is there anything at all inherently wrong in wealthy people, unions, or other organizations funding political parties? Why should it always be the poor that pays?

    In this democracy, representatives get elected on the basis of one person one vote. A donor’s wealth or absence theoreof doesn’t affect that equivalence at all.

  • We did once return a large donation from Mohammed Fayed. Was that because he failed due diligence, or just because we didn’t like him?

  • @Alex – probably because we realised he was mental.

  • “I suspect that, if the Party was obliged to return the money, he’d just donate it by some other route.”

    If the donation were found to be impermissible, it would be forfeited, not returned to the donor.

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