The Truss NetworkWho are the New Prime Minister’s Donors and Advisors?
The Byline Intelligence Team maps the network of billionaires, property developers and die-hard libertarians surrounding the new Prime Minister
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The new Prime Minister is in office and is determined, she says, to get things done.
But she can’t do it alone – which is why, over the last few days, Liz Truss has been busy appointing her top team of Cabinet ministers and Downing Street advisors.
Nor did she solely plot her course to Number 10. The latest MPs’ register of interests, released in recent days, shows the donors who generously gave £424,349 cumulatively to her campaign.
The CVs of these individuals – the people who parted with their cash to support Truss’ campaign – and the new Prime Minister’s advisors can inform our understanding of the sort of administration that Truss may seek to run.
Her advisors physically have their hands on the wheels of power, while the donors have an ideological affinity with the new Prime Minister – either the result of personal convictions or hard-nosed financial pragmatism.
This is what the Byline Intelligence Team found.
Jon Moynihan: £20,000
Jon Moynihan is a long-standing Conservative donor, having given more than half a million pounds to the party in recent years – including £100,000 to Boris Johnson’s 2019 leadership election campaign.
Moynihan is the chairman of the pro-Brexit, libertarian think tank, the Institute for Free Trade (IFT). The IFT’s president is Daniel Hannan, a former Conservative MEP who was appointed as a member of the House of Lords by Boris Johnson. Hannan was also one of “a swathe of free market think tankers” appointed to Liz Truss’ “refreshed Strategic Trade Advisory Group” in late 2020, when she was International Trade Secretary.
Moynihan is also a director of the IEA Forum, the non-charitable arm of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) – a libertarian think tank that advocates for a smaller state and lower taxes. The IEA is considered to be part of the ‘Tufton Street’ group of right-wing think tanks, characterised by their opaque funding and links to similar libertarian projects in the United States.
He is also on the advisory council of the Free Speech Union – the project founded by short-lived government advisor and right-wing writer Toby Young.
Lord Greville Howard of Rising: £4,356
Educated at Eton College and private secretary to Enoch Powell from 1968 to 1970, Lord Greville Howard of Rising is a hereditary peer in the House of Lords and a former shadow cabinet minister, heading various posts on the opposition benches, including the Treasury, Cabinet Office and Culture, Media and Sport.
A Westminster townhouse owned by Lord Howard was used as the Truss campaign headquarters – as it was for Boris Johnson’s 2019 leadership campaign.
Andrew Law: £5,127
Andrew Law is a hedge fund manager who runs Caxton Associates, headquartered in Mayfair. He has donated substantially (more than £4 million) to the Conservatives since 2004, and has also donated to Policy Exchange – the right-wing think tank co-founded by senior Tory politician Michael Gove.
Linda Edwards: £10,000
Linda Edwards is likely to be the same Linda Edwards who joined the IEA’s board of trustees in 2019. She previously donated £20,000 to the local Conservative Party in Truss’ constituency in 2019.
Howard Shore: £50,000
An investment banker by trade, Howard Shore founded and remains chairman of Shore Capital Group. He also founded Puma Brandenburg, an investment vehicle focused on real estate and other ‘asset classes’.
He has donated more than £1.8 million to the Conservatives in recent years, and £50,000 to the Vote Leave campaign.
Lord Michael Spencer: £25,000
Lord Michael Spencer – awarded a peerage by Boris Johnson – also donated substantially to Truss’ campaign.
Lord Spencer is a billionaire former stockbroker who founded Intercapital Brokers in 1986, and has been active in Conservative politics for decades, having served as the party’s Treasurer from 2006 to 2010.
He has donated several million to the Conservatives in recent years, and has said that a primary benefit of Brexit is the ability to remove the cap on bankers’ bonuses.
Smoked Salmon Limited: £10,000
Smoked Salmon Limited is owned by Lance Forman, who served as a Brexit Party MEP from July 2019 to January 2020. Forman was previously close to Boris Johnson, who opened his premises in east London when he was Mayor of London.
Forman was one of four Brexit Party politicians who defected to the Conservatives during the 2019 General Election campaign – including Lucy Harris, who helped to coordinate Truss’ grassroots campaign during the recent leadership contest.
Fitriani Hay: £100,000
The joint-largest donor to the Truss campaign, Fitriani Hay, is the wife of James Hay, a former British Petroleum executive who worked for the oil firm for 27 years.
The pair have donated more than £1 million to the Conservative Party in recent years and in 2011 purchased Birch Grove, the former home of Tory Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
Their other corporate interests include several luxury fashion brands and a manufacturer of construction chemicals.
Natasha Barnaba: £100,000
Listed as an interior designer on Companies House, Natasha Barnaba is the wife of Alessandro Barnaba, an investment banker, French football club chairman and advisor to private healthcare firm Clinova.
Gary Mond: £10,000
Gary Mond is the former senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who resigned in January after alleged Islamophobic activity on his social media was uncovered.
Mond was reported to have posted that civilisation was “at war” with Islam. Mond said he apologised “for any hurt that has been caused as a result of the excavation into my Facebook activity from many years ago”.
However, he also claimed that the Board of Deputies had “cancelled” his opinions and that the organisation was trying to “silence contradictory thought”.
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Clara Freeman: £5,000
Clara Freeman is the wife of Michael Freeman, who founded the property development firm Argent Group. The pair are long-standing Conservative donors, and attended a ‘thank you’ dinner at Downing Street after David Cameron won election in 2010. Clara is also a former director of Marks and Spencer.
Tony Gallagher: £5,500
Tony Gallagher is a billionaire land and property developer who has donated more than £4.3 million to the party in recent years.
Gallagher – who was given a knighthood under Johnson – gave the former Prime Minister’s son Wilfred a £780 envelope opener made of sterling silver, registered as a gift by the Cabinet Office, and was one of 22 big-money Conservative donors who signed a letter urging MPs not to oust Johnson in June.
JC Bamford: £5,316
The machinery company JCB is owned by the Bamford family – whose primo is Lord Anthony Bamford, one of the biggest Conservative donors in recent history, having donated £12.8 million over recent years.
Lord Bamford was also a signatory of the letter urging against Johnson’s ousting, and the new parliamentary records show that he funded Johnson’s recent wedding celebration to the tune of £23,853 – allowing the then Prime Minister and his wife Carrie Johnson to use Daylesford House in Cotswolds, which Bamford owns.
The Bamford family’s net worth is estimated at £4.3 billion.
Baroness Sheila Noakes: £5,000
Baroness Sheila Noakes was awarded a life peerage by the Conservative Party in 1996, taking up her seat in 2000, having served as a partner at the consultancy KPMG, where she was described as “the country’s most high profile accountant”.
Baroness Noakes was the opposition spokesperson for the Treasury, Work and Pensions, and Health, during the New Labour years.
Barbara Yerolemou: £10,000
Tony Yerolemou, married to ex-Conservative councillor Barbara, is co-founder and former chief executive of Katsouris Fresh Foods, which makes ready meals for supermarkets.
Phillip Jeans: £10,000
Phillip Jeans appears to be the owner of a property development company. Indeed, a ‘Phillip Jeans’ has donated more than £50,000 to the Conservatives in recent years – largely to constituency parties in South Norfolk and Norwich, where Phillip Jeans Homes is located.
SJJ Contracts: £15,000
SJJ Contracts appears to be a construction and real estate firm based in the north-west of England.
Tungsten West: £4,050
Tungsten West owns and operates the Hemerdon Tungsten Project in Devon – a mining venture that was recently paused after rising energy prices and inflation challenged the finances of the project.
Mark Fullbrook: Chief of Staff
Mark Fullbrook ran Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in 2019 and was awarded the same task by Truss.
He was formerly the global projects officer at CT Group – the political consultancy established by the influential Australian right-wing operative Lynton Crosby.
Fullbrook has a long-standing history in Conservative campaigning circles, having worked as the party’s head of campaigning as far back as the John Major years, helping to devise the campaign that led to his 1992 victory, before joining the UK CT Group as a founding member.
Ruth Porter: Deputy Chief of Staff
Most recently the managing director of PR firm FGS Global, Ruth Porter is well-known in right-wing think tank circles, having previously worked as the communications director of the IEA, and as the head of economic and social policy at Policy Exchange.
Reuben Soloman: Digital
Another graduate of CT Group, Reuben Soloman helped run the Conservative Party’s controversial social media operation during the 2019 General Election.
Bea Timpson: Deputy Press Secretary
Bea Timpson also worked for CT Group from January to August 2019, before becoming a government advisor.
Iain Carter: Director of Strategy
Likewise, Iain Carter worked for CT Group before joining the Conservative Party as a political director.
Michael Stott: External Management
Michael Stott spent three years managing EDF Energy’s public affairs, later serving as the Conservative Party’s director of external affairs and outreach.
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Caroline Elsom: Health Advisor
An advisor to Truss loyalist Thérèse Coffey for more than a year at the Department for Work and Pensions, Caroline Elsom began her Westminster career at the Centre for Policy Studies – a Thatcherite think tank also in the ‘Tufton Street’ network.
Matt Sinclair: Chief Economic Advisor
For more than six years, Matt Sinclair worked for the TaxPayers’ Alliance – another member of the Tufton Street network that produces research criticising government waste, in an effort to create public and political support for a smaller state.
In 2010, Sinclair edited and co-authored How to Cut Public Spending (And Still Win an Election). The TaxPayers’ Alliance is opaquely funded and does not list its private donors.
Sophie Jarvis: Political Secretary
An advisor to Truss since July 2019, Sophie Jarvis previously worked as the head of government affairs at the Adam Smith Institute – another libertarian, Tufton Street think tank.
Hugh Bennett: Deregulation and ‘Opportunities’
Hugh Bennett has had an unfortunate career history. Prior to advising Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson, he was ‘news editor’ at the radical, libertarian blog Guido Fawkes.