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Conservatives keep donations all in the club

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Issue 2381

The Conservative Party has been accused of using a legal loophole to raise thousands of pounds from donors who wish to remain anonymous.

It’s alleged they do this by accepting the money through private clubs. They include the Carlton Club in St James’s, London, and the United and Cecil, a supper club that raises money through grand dinners.

Some 34 Conservative associations, all in marginal seats, received donations totalling £116,600 from the two clubs in just three months. 

Before the last quarter, these two clubs had not donated to Conservative associations since the last election.

According to Electoral Commission rules, any individual or organisation who gives more than £1,500 a year to a local association is supposed to be identified on public registers on the commission’s website. There is no way of monitoring multiple gifts of up to £7,500 to multiple clubs.

The Conservative Party has received a total of £1,543,330 from the Carlton Club and the United and Cecil Club since 2001. Some £1,248,125 of this was donated since Cameron became leader. More than £870,000 has come from the Carlton Club, the elite gentlemen’s club whose members include Boris Johnson and Cameron.

The United and Cecil Club, which has Cameron as its honorary president, has donated a total of £673,195 to the Conservatives.

The club, which is based in a residential home in Iver, Buckinghamshire, raises money through exclusive dinners attended by MPs and their friends.

Between July and September this year, 34 Conservative associations received between £2,500 and £7,500 from the Carlton club and the United and Cecil club–totalling £116,600. 

Some 91 people have been entertained at private dinners with David Cameron and senior ministers in the last year. 

All of them are major donors to the Tory party. None got anything for their donation other than meal, of course.

Baron George Osborne emerged from underground without a speck of dirt on his overalls. He was indulging in some light industrial tourism down Thoresby colliery in Nottingham last week.

Osborne restored concessionary coal rights to 1,500 ex-British Coal workers. That’s about 10 percent of the number of miners the Tories sacked. 

Pity the poor cyber spies  from GCHQ at a recent Skills Show careers fair in Birmingham. 

Not only were the spooks unable to tell would-be James Bonds what the job involves. But they even had to black out their surnames on their name badges with felt tip pen.

Tories look after their daughters

Tory MP Nadine Dorries last week threatened to nail a reporter’s testicles to the floor. He had asked  how her daughter could work as her secretary when she lived nearly 100 miles away.

The MP claims up to £35,000 a year to employ Jennifer Dorries. The daughter lives in a ­Cotswolds village 96 miles from her mother’s desk in London and 89 from her Mid-Bedfordshire base in Shefford.

Tories struggle against reality

St Albans Tory MP Anne Main said in parliament about the bedroom tax, “Unicorns do not exist, fairies do not exist and—it does not matter how often opposition members say it—a bedroom tax does not exist.”

She let her daughter live rent free for up to three years in a second home funded by expenses. 

Main complained about the bedroom tax as she claimed a £64,586 spare home subsidy—including £350 for a washing machine.

The Commons watchdog forced Main to repay £7,100 expenses.

Holliday’s holiday—but not for workers

Most stockbrokers would agree that being paid £120,000 for doing no work at all for a year is not a bad return.

But not Tom Holliday, who is not the man of leisure his name implies. He told his employer JM Finn he was off in July. The company, anxious not to see its clients go with their departing broker, stuck by the 12-month notice period it agreed with Holliday when it tripled his salary in 2008.

Holliday’s enforced holiday continues. At a Employment Tribunal Mrs Justice Simler has ruled he is not free to get another job until 4 July next year.

Meanwhile workers are too scared to take their holiday entitlement, according to a survey.

We’re entitled to an average 23 days off a year. But four out of ten don’t take them all because they fear losing their job or looking bad in front of the boss.

Tax reduction for stables we pay to heat 

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi bought a £1 million estate and riding stables in 2011 through a company in Gibraltar.

Berkford Investments is managed by T&T Management Services Ltd, which boasts minimising property tax liabilities.

Earlier this month, an investigation into the MP’s expenses claims for his 31-acre “second home” estate found he had claimed energy bills of £5,800 in 2012/13—including for his riding school business.

Farepak victims lose £1 million 

More than £1 million remains unclaimed by victims of failed Christmas savings firm Farepak.

The company collapsed in 2006 leaving 114,000 people with losses of £37 million. They were supposed to get about half the money that they were owed back. 

Deborah Harvey from the Farepak Victims Committee said she was not surprised a lot of the cash had not been claimed.

“Predominately this was dealt with over the internet,” she said. “Not everyone is internet-savvy.

“If you’ve lost touch with your agent—which after nearly seven years is feasible—then you didn’t get money back at all.”



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