The Electoral Commission (EC) has released the full details of donations to political parties in the run-up to the 8 June general election. And it shows the Conservatives received two and a half times more money than Labour. But ironically all that money still couldn’t win Theresa May a majority.
A world of difference
The latest EC figures show that, between April and June 2017, the donations made to political parties were as follows:
- Conservative and Unionist Party – £24,840,627.
- Labour Party – £9,492,519.
- Liberal Democrats – £4,358,410.
- Scottish National Party (SNP) – £596,000.
- Green Party – £176,363.
- UKIP – £156,455.
- Plaid Cymru – £5,300.
- Unite the Union – £4,165,935.
- GMB – £1,253,711.
- Communication Workers Union (CWU) – £1,039,794.
- UNISON – £922,586.
- Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers – £411,340.
But when it came to the Tories, the list of donors reads like a who’s who of tax avoiders, property developers, and crony capitalists.
The Tories’ top donors included [pdf p3/4]:
- JCB Service – £1.5m. It’s owned by Anthony Bamford, who was not only named in the Panama Papers, but who operates JCB out of tax haven Bermuda.
- John C Armitage – £1.1m. Armitage is the founder of Egerton Capital, a hedge fund that enables [xml] tax avoidance for investors.
- John Griffin – £1.03m. Griffin and his private hire firm Addison Lee were caught up in a lobbying scandal in 2012.
- Mark J. C. Bamford – £750,000. The younger brother of Anthony Bamford, owner of JBC Service, he was caught up in a row over a JCB subsidiary, JCB research, which, while only worth £27,000, was the biggest Tory donor in the run-up to the 2010 general election.
- Andrew E Law – £525,000. Law is a hedge fund owner [paywall] whose firm Caxton Associates is registered in the US tax avoidance state of Delaware.
- David J Rowland – £312,500. The Canary conducted a major investigation into Rowland in 2016, and described his offshore tax affairs as “mind blowing”.
- Lord Michael Ashcroft – £500,000. Ashcroft has been involved in several tax avoidance scandals. He also co-authored the book at the centre of the David Cameron ‘Pig gate’ scandal.
The list goes on
Other Tory donors [pdf p3-5] during the election period included:
- Sir Henry and Lady Keswick – £150,000. Keswick’s company Jardine Matheson was linked to tax avoidance via Luxembourg and has numerous subsidiaries in tax haven Bermuda.
- Charles ‘Julian’ Cazalet – £10,000. Cazalet is a non-executive director of NHS private provider Deltex Medical Group.
- Malcolm Healey – £100,000. Healey was fined by HMRC in 2015 for making £8.6m [pdf] by using a tax avoidance scheme.
- Bruce Hardy McLain – £100,000. McLain’s private investment firm CVC Capital Partners is currently embroiled in a £5m bribery and tax avoidance scandal involving Formula One.
- Ayman and Sawsan Asfari – £100,000. Ayman is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. He also runs oil company Petrofac, which avoids tax via Jersey.
- Rainy City Investments – £100,000. Owned by Peter and Fred Done, who were fined £800,000 by the Serious Fraud Office over money laundering allegations.
- Investors in Private Capital Ltd – £150,000. Co-owned by James ‘Jamie’ Reuben, family friend of George Osborne, it paid no UK corporation tax in 2014 [pdf p13], despite a turnover [pdf p17] of £35m.
There is a world of difference between the Labour Party’s trade union money and the Tories’ tax avoiding, city-led donations. But even with two-and-a-half times the funding of Jeremy Corbyn, May still could not win a majority in the election. So, not only do the latest figures from the EC show that even under May the Tories are still the same, old, party of the rich. But they also show that money cannot buy you the UK public’s vote.
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