Political

Conservative Party keeps its funding secret – yet again

Today’s headlines have been caught by the massive debts run up by the Conservative and Labour parties.

Full marks in the irony department to Tory HQ for unveiling a website calling people in debt tossers just before the publication of figures showing their own huge debts.

Buried in the figures are a few interesting snippets, such as the Conservative Party’s reliance on a £3.6 million loan from an overseas company – and as it is based in the British Virgin Islands, it has to publish almost no information about its activities.

So once again they’ve been using a funding method which allows them to dodge full scrutiny. It’s so similar to the Midlands Industrial Council saga – in that case, people gave (and still give) money to the MIC, which then spends it on Tory campaigning but the MIC doesn’t have to publish their full details. Had the money been given direct to the Tory party, of course, the full details would have had to be published.

There’s a bit of a pattern emerging here …

PS As Will Howells has pointed out, another of the pieces of information revealed today is a list of Conservative local parties that received money from Michael Ashcroft before the general election but failed to declare it – although the law is very clear that they should have. One of the Conservative local parties which failed to follow the law was North Norfolk, whose then candidate was Iain Dale (though of course he wasn’t the Treasurer). I’m sure you will share my shock and surprise that, despite his love of party funding stories, this story doesn’t (at the time of typing) feature on Iain’s blog

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