Unions Fund New Tory Donor Exposé Site

Political Scrapbook editor Laurence Durnan is this lunchtime launching a new website claiming to expose the “shady millions flooding into Tory coffers“.  Search the Money reveals that millionaire financiers and hedge fund executives have given a total of £25.3 million over a seven year period, with hundreds of thousands more raised through obscure dining clubs that are not required to name their members.

Guido always welcomes attempts to shine sunlight on the murky world of Westminster finances. Search the Money is somewhat undermined in that its focus is exclusively on the Tories. Why no interest in the LibDems or Labour? The data is there and the tool has been built. Perhaps the fact that the website is being funded by unions has something to do with it…

Having had a little play around with it there are a few other improvements that could be made besides making it all-party, it needs to be able to slice the data by time range – making it very difficult to compare like with like. It also comes up with some surprising results – Stephen Phillips, the lawyer who represents Sleaford and North Hykham – is reported as having received the most money, a whopping £1,264,016.87. Only when you look in detail do you realise that a mere £12,000 of that was in donations and the rest he earned in fees as a highly thought of Queens Counsel. Not sure that there is anything wrong with being well paid at the peak of his career and the top in his field.  Zac Goldsmith with a reputed £200 million trust fund would according to Search the Money be making less money than Stephen Phillips. Something very unlikely…

Of course this site wouldn’t be necessary if it the Electoral Commission website wasn’t so useless…




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