Conservative Party Propped Up by Financiers, Property Developers & Fossil Fuel Interests
Bankers have contributed a third of the party’s income over recent months, amid plans to remove the cap on their bonuses, reports Sam Bright
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As the Conservative Party’s polling position has receded, so has its finances. Donations to the governing party fell by 40% during the three-month period to September, reaching its lowest figure in two years, as the Conservatives trail Labour in the polls by double-digits.
So, with the Tories heading for a spell in opposition, its faithful allies are being revealed – the constituencies of support that will seemingly continue to back the party through the good times and the bad.
Research from Byline Times suggests that donors with a background in banking, property and energy now form a major chunk of the party’s patrons – groups that are currently benefitting from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s agenda in office.
The largest single cohort of Conservative donors are from the financial sector, with at least 10 financiers having given £833,000 to the party during the latest accounting period – a-third of its total income. This included Michael Tory (not a typo), who gave £100,000 to the party in September this year. Tory was the head of UK investment banking for Lehman Brothers when the firm collapsed in 2008 – an event that lit the touch-paper on the global financial crisis.
The Conservatives also received £25,000 from Michael Daffey, a former Goldman Sachs executive who bought Jeffrey Epstein’s $51 million New York mansion. One of the largest Conservative donors in recent months has been Malik Karim, the former managing director of Credit Suisse, who gave £290,000 to the party in the three months to September. He is followed by Andrew Bell – the founder of an investment platform – who gave £250,000.
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Just last week, the Government announced plans to deregulate UK financial markets, pledging to roll back some of the protections announced in the wake of the 2008 crash. Sir John Vickers, a senior economist who led an independent review into the banking system following the crash, described Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s new approach as “extremely dangerous”. Vickers added that the protections set to be removed by Hunt are the “bedrock of how we regulate banks in the UK”.
Meanwhile, though Sunak and Hunt have ditched the majority of the disastrous mini-budget announced in September by their predecessors Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, they have retained the policy to remove the cap on bankers’ bonuses.
Another significant sector of support for the Conservative Party are those who trade in property. Graham Edwards, executive chairman of Telereal Trillium (TT), gave £62,500 to the party in September. TT owns 60 million square feet in commercial properties, with the government being one of its primary tenants. Edwards, who sits on the board of the Centre for Policy Studies – a Tufton Street ‘think tank’ – is reportedly set to be appointed as the Conservative Party’s new treasurer.
Prolific Conservative donor and property developer Tony Gallagher likewise gave £100,000 to the party in July, via his firm Countywide Developments.
In response the pressure from backbench Conservative MPs, the Government has recently dropped its compulsory housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a-year, instead making it ‘advisory’. While fewer homes being built means less work for developers, the under-supply of homes allows for prices and profit margins to stay high.
And, even despite the growing consensus in the UK for climate action, the Conservative Party continues to receive a decent chunk of its income from energy interests.
Having donated £57,000 to the party in recent years, Amjad Bseisu once again gave several thousand pounds to the party in July. Bseisu is the CEO of EnQuest – an oil and gas company.
The party also received £10,000 from Centrax in the latest accounting period, a firm that manufactures gas turbines, taking its total donated during the year to £20,000. Bayford and Co, which deals in “oil distribution and energy supply”, likewise donated £12,000 to the Conservatives between July and September, and has given more than £40,000 during the year so far.
To the despondence of environmental campaigners, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove last week approved the construction of the UK’s first coal mine in 30 years. Paul Elkins at University College London said the approval “trashes the UK’s reputation as a global leader on climate action and opens it up to well-justified charges of hypocrisy – telling other countries to ditch coal while not doing so itself.”
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