Tory chiefs have been accused of rewarding big money donors in return for filling party coffers to the tune of £10 million.
As Christmas approaches, Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner highlighted “12 Donors of Tory Christmas” – who she says have found gongs and privileged access to ministers under the tree.
They include long-time donor and former party treasurer Peter Cruddas, who donated £500,000 to the party just three days after being made Lord Cruddas.
And the list also features property moguls the Reuben Brothers, who the Mirror revealed had shared a table with Boris Johnson at this year’s infamous “Black and White Ball.”
The next day it emerged the Reuben family business owned the site of HMRC’s new northern outpost in Newcastle.
Angela Rayner said: “Christmas comes but once a year, unless you’re a Tory donor.
“Peerages, awards, contracts and exclusive access all handed out to the highest bidder whenever Boris Johnson needs his pocket lining.
“He is setting the tone for the whole rotten system. Britain deserves a Prime Minister with far more integrity.”
There’s no suggestion of any wrongdoing by any of the donors.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “Donations to the Conservative Party are entirely separate from government and play no part in the selection process for Honours.
“It is unfair to criticise individuals being honoured just because they have also chosen to donate to a political party and we do not believe that successful businesspeople and philanthropists who contribute to political causes and parties should be disqualified from sitting in the legislature.”
1: Peter Cruddas
Peter Cruddas, the party’s former treasurer had already given millions to the party, donated another £500,000 in February.
Three days earlier, he had been made Lord Cruddas, and given a life-long seat in the House of Lords.
“This is a regular donation. I’ve given £3.5m to the Conservatives and £1.5m to the Vote Leave campaign. If people are suggesting there’s a linkage between the [donation and my peerage], well I’ve been donating since 2010,” he said at the time.
2: Malik Karim
City banker Malik Karim gave the Tories £750,000 in August.
The following month he was made Treasurer of the Conservative Party.
3: Will Adderley
Will Adderley gave the Tories £500,000 for their 2019 general election war chest, one of the largest individual donations in that campaign.
In June he received a knighthood.
4: Mike Gooley
CAMERA PRESS/Tom Stockill)
Travel boss Mike Gooley also made a £500,000 contribution to the Tories’ general election campaign fund.
He was knighted in June for services to business and charity.
5: Rishi Khosla
As well as handing cash to the party, banker Rishi Khosla hosted the ‘advisory group’ of big ticket Tory donors at his Kensington townhouse over the Summer, the Mirror revealed in November.
OakNorth, the bank he co-founded, will benefit from a rise in the Bank Corporation Tax Surcharge threshold, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in the Budget.
The bank made £97m in profit last year and over the previous two years has paid £7.6m to the Treasury in the surcharge, according to accounts filed in December.
Mr Khosla denies lobbying ministers for the policy change.
The ‘Advisory Group’, many of whom are said to have given the party £250,000, are reported to hold monthly meetings with either the PM or Chancellor to discuss “the political landscape”, according to a report in the FT.
Mr Khosla denies he is a member of the advisory group.
6: Reuben brothers
Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Property tycoon Simon Reuben shared a table worth £15,000 with the Prime Minister at the Tories’ notorious Winter Ball fundraiser last month.
The next day it was revealed the Reubens owned a property which will shortly become HMRC’s new home in Newcastle.
7: Malcolm Offord
Long-time Tory Donor Malcolm Offord was handed a ministerial job and a lifetime seat in the Lords in October.
Defending his appointment, he said: “It’s a matter of record that I have given donations to the Conservative party over 15 years when I was not politically active. That’s on the record, that’s completely transparent. And I’m proud to have done that.
“I have a personal view that political parties should not be state funded, should not be taxpayer funded.
“I believe they should stand and fall on their own merits. The Labour Party is funded largely by trade unions, the Conservative party’s largely funded by individuals and the SNP is funded by crowdfunding.”
He added: “I don’t see there’s any anomaly there whatsoever. It’s a great honor and privilege for me to be involved.
“And all government departments have a Lords minister.
“There is a Lords Minister required to help take legislation through Parliament and it seems to be only right that the Scotland Office has the same ability.”
8: Maurizio Bragagni
Maurizio Bragagni was given an OBE in June.
Bragagni’s donations now amount to almost £600,000, and under his honorary role as ‘Consul of the Republic of San Marino to the UK’, he has paid for a number of Tory MPs to visit the republic.
9: Wol Kolade
Private equity boss Wol Kolade has given the Tories more than £800,000.
Over the summer he received a CBE for ‘services to Financial Services’
Wol Kolade Recognised in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021
10: David Hodkin
Clipper Logistics finance boss David Hodkin gave the Tories £8,000 in September, while the firm’s owner Steve Parkin has donated almost £500,000 in total.
The firm has won at least £1.3m in government Covid contracts.
But the Department of Health and Social care has not published details of the deals, arguing they are sub-contracts handed out further down the NHS supply chain.
11: David Meller
A firm formerly co-owned by Mr Meller secured a string of PPE contracts during the pandemic.
Mr Meller has donated nearly £60,000 to the Conservative party, including £3,000 to Michael Gove in the 2016 leadership election.
Mr Meller, 61, has given nearly £60,000 to the Tories since 2009.
A spokesperson for David Meller said in November that he had nothing to add to a previous statement provided by Meller Designs, which said it had approached the government offering to supply equipment and was “extremely proud” of the role it played in supplying “more than 100m items of PPE”.
12: Lord Brownlow
Renovation of PM’s flat: £112,000
Following an Electoral Commission investigation it was revealed that Lord Brownlow gave £112,549.12 in total to the refurbishment of the PM’s flat.
The cash was later repaid personally by the Prime Minister, after details emerged in the press.
But before the PM decided to pay for it himself, long-time donor Lord Brownlow was to be made chair of the ‘Downing Street Trust’ – a non-profit organisation responsible for raising money for the upkeep of the Downing Street residence.
In the run up to Christmas the Tories gave to me,
A no doubt well-earned knighthood,
A CBE for banking,
Costly Covid contracts,
A seat in the Lords,
A job as Tory treasurer,
Another lovely knighthood,
Tax cuts for bankers,
A cheeky OBE,
And a trust to refurb Downing Street!
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.