Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker: The Russians are coming and have bought the Tories

Issue No. 2595

Theresa May—popular with rich Russians

Theresa May—popular with rich Russians (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)

The level of confusion over what actually happened is matched by the level of bluster over the nerve agent attack on British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

But the Tories have quietly been taking fortunes from Russians, both pro and anti Putin, in recent years.

Theresa May promised to distance her party from Russian donors when she took office. But oligarchs and their associates have registered donations of £826,100 to the Tories since Theresa May became prime minister.

The Tories have received more than £3 million from Russian billionaires and lobbyists for Moscow since their return to government in 2010.

One Russian donor paid the Tories more in a year under May than in six years under Cameron.

Banker Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of a former Putin minister, handed the party £253,950 in the year to September 2017.

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This compares with £250,432 she donated between 2010 and Cameron’s resignation in 2016.

A further £10,000 was ruled impermissible because she was not a British citizen at the time.

A lobbying company closely connected to the Tories, New Century Media, was paid by the Kremlin to promote a “positive image” of Russia in Britain in 2013.

New Century has donated £143,000 to the Tories, including more than £24,000 since May became prime minister.

New Century Media also represents companies run by Gerard Lopez, who handed £400,000 to the Tories.

Lopez, whose companies appeared in the Panama papers, is chairman of the board of Rise Capital, which lists as partners Russian banks that are under EU and US sanctions.

Alexander Temerko has given the Tories more than £600,000, including £148,000 since May became prime minister.

Temerko, once a senior figure in Russia’s defence industry is a critic of Putin.

The government signed a deal with Saudi Arabia for the sale of 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets.

The deal is worth more than £5 billion. BAE Systems’ share price rose within minutes of the announcement.

Typhoons have been used by the Saudi royal air force in the war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia is the British defence industry’s largest customer.

Institute of Directors is not racist at all

A TOP boss accused of bullying staff and racial slurs quit her role.

Lady Barbara Judge resigned as chairwoman of industry body the Institute of Directors after being suspended.

She faces 41 claims, including saying, “Blacks can get aggressive.”

Deputy chairman Sir Ken Olisa, who had criticised the investigation, and non-executive director Arnold Wagner also quit.

One of the key pieces of evidence is understood to be a secret recording.

Lady Judge said, “Although I strongly object to the breach of trust arising from the secret recording of a private conversation, I accept that the language used when discussing the employment situation of individuals with protected characteristics was not of the modern standard.

“I deeply regret the language I used and apologise if this caused any distress or upset.”

But the New York-born ex-merchant banker “strongly refutes” the allegations and blasted “flaws” in the probe.

Hard-hitting news—Kate Middleton’s fingers might be all the same length.

Or at least the Daily Mail thought so, even printing an image of Kate’s fingers—with a box around them to doubly make sure—so everyone could see for themselves that they were shockingly different sizes.

Fake placards from bigots in abortion war

Last week being International Women’s Day, people rightly marched for abortion rights in Dublin. This May will see a referendum to lift Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion.

Anti-abortion bigots have a long record of lies and deceit. But last week saw an odd low.

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Pictures appeared of some women on the pro-choice march carrying placards that showed the logo of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists from the 1930s.

The allegedly more respectable end of the anti-choice movement started punting them with enthusiasm.

Presumably they liked to push the idea that British fascists were coming for Irish “babies”.

The women in the photo were horrified and understandably said they had no idea what the logo was.

There was only a handful of placards. Yet, entirely coincidently, someone was there to video them. The bigots aren’t beaten yet.

Ukip man kills a worker

A wealthy boss has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a worker who was buried alive working on his pool.

Ex-Ukip election candidate Keith Crawford refused to fund safety gear, allegedly saying, “F*** that, it’s getting silly money.”

Peter Clements died in 2015 after a 9ft trench collapsed on him in Exeter.

Crawford was also convicted at the city’s crown court of breaking safety laws.

He faces going to jail when he is sentenced on 22 March.

Tory travel is expensive

Expenses claims made by the Tory transport secretary make interesting reading.

Since 2010 Chris Grayling has made 233 expenses claims worth £1,529.50 for car journeys.

By contrast, he’s made just 11 expenses claims for rail travel to the value of £94.30.

Grayling didn’t register a single claim for a journey on public transport between January 2014 and January 2018. Over the same period, he claimed £610.65 for 96 journeys by car.

The last time Grayling registered a journey on public transport was November 2013—a return ticket between his constituency and Westminster.

Twelve members of the Tory cabinet have claimed more in expenses for journeys made on public transport in the past year alone than Grayling has since 2010.

We can only presume he likes to pay his own public transport costs.

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