Back in 2018, I reported on how Charlie Mullins of Pimlico Plumbers had switched from being a Conservative to Liberal Democrat donor. Hence too the large plumbing-themed stand at the last Liberal Democrat autumn federal conference in Brighton.
Charlie Mullins, the millionaire businessman behind Pimlico Plumbers, said that he had switched after donating to the Conservative Party. “It is because of Jo Swinson,” he said. “She is a breath of fresh air. And it is exciting to have someone with so much enthusiasm wanting to prevent Brexit.
“She is the complete opposite to Boris. He is trying to do everything he can to make Brexit happen. She has come in saying she is prepared to do everything she can for it not to happen.” [The Times]
This is part of a welcome uptick in interest in the party from potential donors (with the party even wheeling me out increasingly often to talk with them – a nice way to have my diary filled up!). Yet as I wrote before:
There is a massive financial challenge for the party to be able to resource campaigning on a scale that matches the party’s political opportunities. But it isn’t only a financial challenge. Mobilising the volunteer resources too – especially the hundreds of thousands who have signed national petitions but are not yet engaged by local parties – is a big part of that. As is learning the lessons from why the party’s surge in the polls in 2010 didn’t translate into gaining seats at that general election.
More on that and the other things the party needs to get right in the latest edition of Liberal Democrat Newswire, which you can read here.