‘Just Helping a Mate’Conservative MP Given £25,000 Loan to Cover Housing Costs by Big Brexit Donor
Andrew Bridgen has accepted an interest-free loan to help pay for his constituency home, reveals Sascha Lavin
Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive editorial emails from the Byline Times Team.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has accepted £25,000 from a multi-millionaire private equity tycoon to help cover his housing costs, Byline Times can reveal.
The register of MPs’ interests shows that Bridgen accepted the interest-free loan from Jeremy Hosking in August to cover “accommodation costs of my constituency home”.
Bridgen was recently evicted from his £1.5 million five-bedroom home by a High Court judge following a legal dispute with his family vegetable business, AB Produce.
It is understood that, throughout the seven years he lived at the home, owned by the business, the North West Leicestershire MP refused to pay rent and bills for water and electricity. The house has a stable, sauna, swimming pool and 5.5 acres of land.
While The Times reported that it was “not known” where Bridgen and his family now live, a new entry to his register of interests suggests that private equity tycoon Hosking may have come to Bridgen and his family’s rescue.
Hosking told Byline Times that he was “just helping a mate”. Bridgen did not respond to a request for comment.
FUND MORE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
Help expose the big scandals of our era.
Hosking – who, according to the Electoral Commission, has donated almost £8 million to various right-wing political parties and campaigns since 2005 – is not the first donor to have come to the personal aid of Conservative MPs.
Chairman of construction equipment manufacturer JCB, Lord Anthony Bamford, and his wife Carole, have lavished Boris Johnson with gifts – including £10,000 worth of accommodation and £12,500 worth of food deliveries from Lady Bamford’s upmarket Daylesford Organic Farm.
In July, the Bamfords also hosted Boris and Carrie Johnson’s wedding celebration in the grounds of their 18th Century mansion Daylesford House in the Cotswolds. The former Prime Minister received a donation-in-kind worth £23,853 from the Bamfords to pay for the costs, including Portaloos, a South African BBQ and an ice cream van.
Johnson crashed a JCB digger displaying the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ through a wall of fake bricks marked ‘Gridlock’ in a stunt during the 2019 General Election campaign and has previously urged politicians to “emulate the spirit of JCB”.
Conservative peer Lord David Brownlow has also funded Johnson’s lifestyle. He became embroiled in the so-called ‘Wallpapergate’ saga after it emerged that he had paid £112,000 towards the cost of the refurbishment of the then Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat. It later emerged that Johnson had exchanged messages with Lord Brownlow seeking funds for the renovations while promising to consider plans for a “great exhibition”.
A regular donor to the Conservative Party in the past, Hosking has since preferred to give his money elsewhere after becoming disillusioned by the Government’s handling of Brexit.
After giving £350,000 to Conservative candidates during the 2017 General Election campaign, he accused the party of “diluting Brexit” and even called on pro-Brexit voters to abandon it.
The investment tycoon gave more than £1.7 million to the official Vote Leave campaign, and more than £1 million to the Brexit Express campaign he founded, pushing for “no backsliding on Brexit”.
Bridgen has been a leading member of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs – widely seen as a ‘party within a party’ pushing for a hard Brexit.
Bridgen is also member of the newly-formed Net Zero Scrutiny group – a Conservative faction set up in the lead-up to the COP26 climate summit to warn against the Government’s current green agenda. A recent openDemocracy investigation revealed Hosking’s company, Hosking Partners, has at least $134 million invested in the fossil fuel sector.
Hosking has likewise given more than £2.7 million to Lawrence Fox’s Reclaim Party, which has prominently campaigned against net zero targets.
The tens of thousands of people estimated to be made homeless by 2024 because of a crippling combination of benefits freezes, soaring bills and the end of Coronavirus eviction bans will sadly not be lucky enough to benefit from the generosity of a “mate” like Hosking.