Cornwall Tories accused of ‘duping’ charity choir

ThisIsCornwall.co.uk has the story:

THE Conservatives in Cornwall have been accused of “duping” a charity choir into taking part in a Christmas carol concert to raise money for party funds as well as charity.

Members of Helston Chamber Choir were delighted when they were invited to sing at the festive event next week, believing it was in aid of St Julia’s Hospice, part of Cornwall Hospice Care, alone.

However, when promised publicity material and tickets failed to materialise, and then e-mails went unanswered, the choir investigated further – only to find the concert was also raising cash for the Tories in West Cornwall.

Grace Barnes, chairman of the choir, claimed they had been “duped” into taking part in the political fundraiser – a practice which is illegal for charities.

“We did it because we thought it was for a good cause,” Ms Barnes told the Western Morning News. “But, even if it had been on, when we all turned up we would have had to walk away because we are a registered charity. Our position would have been the same whatever party it was, we just can’t do it.”

The concert was organised by by Stephen Sobey, a recent Tory council candidate and a member of the St Ives Conservatives Association management committee. When the choir wrote Mr Sobey a three-page letter to complain about the misrepresentation of the concert and to requests costs, he replied tersely:

Please forward the bill which was not attached to this e-mail and it will be paid.”

Mr Sobey was a little more forthcoming when approached by the Western Morning News with ther story, which publishes his fulsome apology. The concert itself has now been cancelled.

As the paper goes on to note the Cornwall Tories have previous:

It is the second time in as many months that Tory party fundraising tactics have been called into question. Last month, fundraisers on The Lizard accused the Conservatives of “hijacking” their fireworks display to raise money.

Porthallow Village Institute, which needs to raise £100,000, charged £4 for entrance to its fireworks event.

Meanwhile, Conservative supporters were invited to a firework party at a house in the area, costing £8 for entrance, a hot dog and mulled wine, on the same night. However, the event had no fireworks of its own – instead the invitation stated: “Porthallow village fireworks can be viewed from the front garden.”

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One Comment

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  • By Could Cameron cost Tories the West? on Thu 21st January 2010 at 7:40 pm.

    […] in the South West have been events such as the complaints from a Cornwall choir that it had been duped into doing fund raising for the Conservative Party and the allegations that their Parliamentary candidate Caroline Righton faked a message about Lib […]

  • By Could Cameron cost Tories the West? | Mark Pack on Sat 23rd January 2010 at 7:25 pm.

    […] in the South West have been events such as the complaints from a Cornwall choir that it had been duped into doing fund raising for the Conservative Party and the allegations that their Parliamentary candidate Caroline Righton faked a message about Lib […]

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