Buckingham Palace, the Bank of England and a donation to the Conservative Party

UPDATE: Paul Cuttill, the Managing Director of the D Group, has been in touch to say that he is “100% certain” that the D Group has not made a donation to the Conservative Party and that the Electoral Commission’s register of donations is wrong. (The most likely circumstances in which this could happen are if an individual involved with the D Group has made a donation personally but that the donation was wrongly recorded.)

A business networking group that lists amongst its members Buckingham Palace and the Bank of England has given a donation to the Conservative Party.

The D Group describes itself as a “business development network” which “is a publicity-averse business networking organisation with a strong international slant as well as an established national presence throughout Government and business as a whole”. It has organised events in the past such as one at which Vince Cable addressed its members.

However, despite the presence in its membership list of several organisations which place great store by political impartiality, the Electoral Commission’s official records show that the D Group gave £2,000 to Mid Sussex Conservative Party (where the MP is the controversial Nicholas Soames) in late 2009.

One organisation listed as a paying member was Transport for London, raising obvious issues about whether or not public funds have been used indirectly to fund a political donation. TfL’s response was, “Transport for London is not and has never been a member of the D Group. The D Group have amended their online membership list to reflect this.”

Buckingham Palace’s response when asked about being listed as an honorary membership of an organisation that has made a political donation was, “Buckingham Palace pays no money whatsoever to the D Group and is an Honorary Member only, allowing us to participate in debates and discussions given by politicians of all parties and by senior figures in business, the military and government”.

The D Group has declined to comment but it certainly seems to have been, at best, very unwise to make a political donation when it has necessarily impartial organisations such as Buckingham Palace amongst its members.

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