Tag Archives: john mann

Opinion: David Laws takes another step on the road to redemption

Last night, despite the rather unpleasant efforts of a handful of Labour backbenchers to throw stones from an already rather damaged greenhouse, the House of Commons overwhelmingly passed a motion proposing six members to form the Joint Committee to scrutinise the draft Financial Services Bill.

Usually, such motions are passed without a murmur, especially as the nominees are proposed by the various political parties. However, on this occasion, the presence of David Laws, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, drew the ire of, amongst others, Thomas Docherty, the Labour MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, and John Mann, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 27 Comments

Lord Ashcroft and the Conservative Party: the financial controversies

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

With Michael Ashcroft back in the news over his financial support for the Conservative Party, this post provides a quick recap of the past controversies over Michael Ashcroft, the Conservative Party and political funding.

Ashcroft’s sequence of senior Conservative posts

Under William Hague, Ashcroft was Treasurer of the Conservative Party (1998-2001), becoming a peer and member of the House of Lords in 2000. He was involved in a protracted dispute with The Times, which had been investigating some of the sources of his wealth. A libel action was settled out of court, with both sides paying their own legal costs.

After Hague’s departure, there was a gap of several years before Ashcroft once again held senior office in the Conservative Party, coming back as Deputy Chairman after the 2005 general election. This role, combined with his financial contributions, have given him huge influence over the Conservative Party’s target seats operation.

Ashcroft’s influence on the Conservative Party’s direction

He paid privately for an extensive polling operation during the 2005 campaign, the results of which – along with his book, Smell the coffee: A wake-up call for the Conservative Party – played a significant part in the modernising debates in the Conservative Party.

Tim Montgomerie has commented on ConservativeHome that, “I think his polling operation and Smell The Coffee report did too much to send the Cameron project in an über-modernising direction.”

Ashcroft and the House of Lords

Prior to being made a peer in 2000, Michael Ashcroft promised that he would return to the UK and pay income tax:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment
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