Conservatives keep their funding secret – again

Today’s headlines have been caught by the massive debts run up by the Conservative and Labour parties.

Full marks in the irony department to Tory HQ for unveiling a website calling people in debt tossers just before the publication of figures showing their own huge debts.

Buried in the figures are a few interesting snippets, such as the Tory party’s reliance on a £3.6 million loan from an overseas company – and as it is based in the British Virgin Islands, it has to publish almost no information about its activities.

So once again they’ve been using a funding method which allows them to dodge full scrutiny. It’s so similar to the Midlands Industrial Council saga – in that case, people gave (and still give) money to the MIC, which then spends it on Tory campaigning but the MIC doesn’t have to publish their full details. Had the money been given direct to the Tory party, of course, the full details would have had to be published.

There’s a bit of a pattern emerging here …

PS As Will Howells has pointed out, another of the pieces of information revealled today is a list of Conservative local parties that received money from Michael Ashcroft before the general election but failed to declare it – although the law is very clear that they should have. One of the Conservative local parties which failed to follow the law was North Norfolk, whose then candidate was Iain Dale (though of course he wasn’t the Treasurer). I’m sure you will share my shock and surprise that, despite his love of party funding stories, this story doesn’t (at the time of typing) feature on Iain’s blog

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  • Mark Pack doesn't Always Win Elections 28th Nov '06 - 11:20pm

    You’re skating on thin ice here: you have loans of over £1m, have taken a £2m donation from a fraudster (who’s now in jail) and are refusing to pay it back and 5 of your senior officials have been interviewed by Yates over “Cash for Peerages”.

    A certain £2,500 donation, appearing on the EC’s website today, is being investigated…

  • London WMCMAM 29th Nov '06 - 1:47pm

    Hmmm. There are only 2 donations for £2,500 declared today:

    1) from Handwood Press to Haringey LDs

    2) from Hallam Players to Sheffield Hallam LDs

    Which one did you have in mind? Both look pretty straightforward and kosher to me.

    I assume by your moniker that you’re having a go at No1, in which case I know for a fact you’re wasting your time.

  • Mark Pack Doesn't Always Win Elections 29th Nov '06 - 2:54pm

    That would be telling! BTW, Tongue doesn’t like the word “Kosher”!!!

  • hywelmorgan 29th Nov '06 - 2:56pm

    Lots of people get interviewed by the police. Doesn’t mean they’ve done anything wrong. (saying things like that is also probably borderline defamatory but I doubt they’d bother doing anything about it).

    Being investigated also sounds dodgy – of course it’s always possible (even probable) that the Electoral Commission investigate a proportion of all donations to check general compliance and understanding by the parties.

  • Mark Pack Doesn't Always Win Elections 29th Nov '06 - 3:11pm

    Then don’t make a song and dance about it when it happen to people in other parties.

  • London WMCMAM 29th Nov '06 - 5:07pm

    That would be telling
    Yes, that would be like suggesting that you really knew what you were talking about and not just making baseless accusations.

    Then don’t make a song and dance about it when it happen to people in other parties
    Well, how many loans have the Lib Dems not declared? And how many peerages have they sold? A big fat diddly-squat.

    Meanwhile your Tory chums are still hiding behind front organisations and BVI companies.

    I suppose at least it’s a step forward from brown paper envelopes under the last Tory Government …

  • Mark Pack Doesn't Always Win Elections 29th Nov '06 - 8:41pm

    It’s not “baseless” – watch this space. How many loans have the Conservatives not declared? None! How many peerages have the Conservatives sold? None. Your point is?

  • London WMCMAM 30th Nov '06 - 7:13am

    I am keenly watching that space – the one between your ears.

    Tories didn’t declare their loans for months and, looking at the terms they have now – finally – declared, it’s pretty clear that they weren’t all on commercial terms.

    How many peerages have the Conservatives sold? None. You’re having a larf, right??!

    By the way, are you Justin Hinchcliffe?

  • Mark Pack Doesn't Always Win Elections 30th Nov '06 - 11:39am

    Why should they be on commercial terms?

    Name and prove a single Conservative peer who “bought” his or her peerage?

    No; I’m Mark Pack’s moral conscience. Who’s WMCMAM?

  • Peter Forrest 28th Dec '06 - 11:58am

    I see that the Featherstone family donated £11,587 in the lead-up to the Council Elections in May, taking their total to date to well over £60,000.

    There seems little point (other than sanctimony) in criticising the donations by others to central Party funds when local donations on this scale, pro rata, dwarf what is going on nationally.

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