See the Brexit supporting rich people bankrolling the Conservatives

If you are incredibly rich and want to influence the Government, you can, for a cool £50k per hear join the Conservative Party’s Leaders’ Club.

This buys you some pretty major access to key players in the Government:

The Leader’s Group is the premier supporter Group of the Conservative Party. Members are invited to join Theresa May and other senior figures from the Conservative Party at dinners, post-PMQ lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches.

The Conservatives have now published the list of government ministers who have attended events  with these very rich people, who include key backers of Brexit, associates of Vladimir Putin (him again) and even a partner of Jacob Rees-Mogg, since the 2017 General Election. They were able to dine and chat with Theresa May, You have every great office of state represented – May, Boris, Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond along with Liz Truss, Greg Clark, Jeremy Hunt and others.

What’s interesting is that if you look at the group of guests they are almost all men.

As the campaign group Open Britain said in its analysis of the guest lists:

The publication reveals that super-wealthy donors being wined and dined by Theresa May and senior ministers include a host of speculating hedge funds, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s business partner at Somerset Capital Management, and the wife of Vladimir Putin’s former deputy finance minister.

One dinner guest, Hardy McLain, attended dinners in 2017 and 2018 and previously donated £20,000 to the Vote  Leave campaign. The firm he founded was previously linked to attempts to “profit from Brexit uncertainty”.

Another, Dominic Johnson, who attended two dinners in 2017, is the co-founder of Somerset Capital Management – an investment firm set up by hard Brexiteer and Chairman of the ERG Jacob Rees-Mogg. Somerset was recently reported to be warning their clients about “considerable uncertainty” as a result of Brexit, and set up a new fund in Ireland, which benefits from EU financial passporting rights.

Edmund Truell, who attended dinners in 2017 and 2018, owns a Swiss-listed private equity business called Disruptive Capital which has a mission statement to ‘exploit market uncertainty’ to generate returns.

In total some 81 figures paid a total of £7.4 million to the Conservative Party for access to exclusive dinners with the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet Ministers since the General Election 2017.

Lib Dems have long talked about getting the big money out of politics. Our 2017 manifesto said we would:

Take big money out of politics by capping donations to political parties at £10,000 per person each year, and introducing wider reforms to party funding along the lines of the 2011 report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

There’s not much appetite from the two big parties, who benefit most from the current situation, to level the playing field, as Nick Clegg found out in 2013. 

In a written statement, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the three parties had held seven meetings on the issue in 2012 and 2013, to no avail.

“I am disappointed that, as on previous occasions, there has been no agreement between the three parties on beginning party funding reform.

“Although it is now clear that reforms cannot go forward in this Parliament, I hope that the principles explored can inform further discussions on this topic and that the parties will then return to this issue after the next election.”

Lib Dem Peer Paul Tyler is particularly interested in this issue and in 2016 was part of an effort which stopped the Tories skewing the rules in their favour.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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3 Comments

  • Ten thousand pounds IS big money. Whoever thought up that amount clearly mixes only with the wealthy. What kind of people have got a spare ten grand to donate to a political party? The state should give everyone in Britain one pound each to donate to a political party of their choice. Sixty million quid divvied up amongst all the political parties in the UK and with no other donations allowed really would take the big money out of politics and give the poorest as much of a say as the richest.

  • Innocent Bystander 23rd Jul '18 - 2:44pm

    I despair. The “state” won’t “give” us money for political parties until it has taxed it off us first.
    The notion that the British, already groaning under taxation and with worse to come, will gladly pay another £60M for more leaflets full of hubris and undeliverable promises can only be from people who never ask their fellow citizens as to how they feel about our current politicians.

  • Ed Shepherd 24th Jul '18 - 7:20am

    Believe me, I speak every day to many people who tell me how much they dislike our current political class. That’s how I knew that Brexit would win the referendum and Theresa May would not win her general election. State funding of political parties is the norm in many countries I believe and state subsidy of political parties already happens in the UK, I believe. Many of the politician-despising folk that I converse with every day would like the idea of being given a small sum to donate to a party of their choice. They are not stupid. They understand taxation and money creation.

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