Phillip Lee Receives £70,000 in Donations – Four Times The Individual Spending Limit

As Britain heads for a December Election, Christmas has come early for self-styled ‘Great British Hero’ Phillip Lee. According to his register of interests, he has received a whopping £70,000 to support his new candidature in John Redwood’s seat of Wokingham. The lucky Lib Dem’s donations total 437% of the legal £16,000 constituency spending limit individual candidates are permitted during an election. Guido thought a doctor could have spotted this problem before accepting the donations…

In the last few days, Lee recorded three donations under his Members’ Financial Interests: one of £50,000 from M7 Real Estate Limited; £15,000 from Ceawlin Thynn, and £5,000 from 12 Property Fe Ltd.

Candidates can spend just £16,000 in the 25 days leading up to an election, whilst their parties are limited to £30,000 per constituency on top of that. Even taking both these sums together, Lee’s £70,000 donations smash through the combined £46,000 limit…

The regulated spending period kicked in yesterday, meaning Lee could have cynically dumped £54,000 on his new seat in the last couple of days and fall within the rules. Guido can imagine how much codswallop certain journalists would spew if the Tories did something similar…

Lib Dems’ New Shameless Leaflet Claims

Lib Dem leaflets famously always stretch the truth as far as they can. However this year’s cohort of letterbox literature includes a whole new level of post-truth statements. Makes tuition fees pale into insignificance…

Despite only just defecting from the Tories, Phillip Lee’s leaflets have performed a Stalinist erasure of his recent right-wing past. The leaflet implies the election is a close choice between the Tories and the LibDems, despite the LibDems coming 24,000 votes behind John Redwood in 2017, and 6,000 behind Labour.Moving over to Streatham, the Lib Dems hilariously try and explain that their current “popular local Lib Dem MP” – yes, that is Chuka Umunna they’re referring to – is “moving on at the next election”.

They fail to mention he’s carpetbagging over to the seat of Westminster because he doesn’t stand a chance of winning in his current seat when voters finally get their say…

Chair of LGBT Lib Dems Quits Party Over Phillip Lee

The chair of the Liberal Democrat LGBT wing has resigned from the party following Phillip Lee’s defection to them.I thought we had a soul and principles.”

Read her full statement here:

“I’m feeling devastated.

The powers that be have let Philip Lee in.

A homophobe, a xenophobe, and someone who thinks people should be barred from the country if they are ill.

F*ck this.
F*ck this so hard.

I thought the Lib Dems were not a single issue party.
I thought we had a soul and principles.
But apparently as long as you are on the right side on Brexit we’ll take you.

Well, I’m sorry, but no.

It doesn’t matter if we already have others as bad. You don’t make bad things better by adding more bad things. It doesn’t matter that he will increase our numbers in parliament by ONE. He thinks me and people like me are a lower class of human. I will not share a party with him.

I know you only get to do this once. I know I am ripping up almost my entire social life here. I know I am causing a lot of people a lot of organisational difficulties. And I’m sorry for all that. But there are some principles I will not compromise.

Sorry.”

Bracknell Tories At War Over Phillip Leaks

Despite his local Executive overwhelmingly passing a motion against him last week, it turns out that Phillip Lee isn’t compleetely friendless in his local Association. Local Lee-nthusiasts took to the private Bracknell Conservatives Facebook group to complain that the story had made its way to Guido. Guido has bad news for them. Their complaints have too…

Looks like Lee actually had at least three votes in his favour rather than just two, Guido is happy to correct the record. Only 31 votes against him now!

The Association Chairman then intervened as well. Looks like he’s better at respecting the outcomes of votes than his MP…

Phillip Lee’s Local Executive Overwhelmingly Vote Against Him

Phillip Lee’s strategy of treating his local party members with contempt is not paying dividends. Last month he tried to brush off his local Association’s vote of no confidence in him as an “orchestrated, destructive campaign from outside the Party” and refused to even turn up to the meeting. Now his Executive Council have overwhelmingly passed a motion for Lee to seek reselection.

Lee can hardly accuse the Executive of being ‘entryists’, not that there is any evidence for it anyway, these are long-standing local members. They voted roughly 31-3 in favour of a motion for him to seek re-adoption. At which point he can be formally replaced as the Tories’ candidate for the next general election…

Due to the ambiguities of the Conservative Party constitution there is no time limit for Lee to do so until the next election is called, Guido understands that he has made it clear to local members that he will delay as long as possible. Given the numbers it looks like he’s just delaying the inevitable, if he hasn’t defected to the Lib Dems already by then…

YouGov Debunks Claims of Large-Scale Tory ‘Entryism’

Remainer Tory MPs’ go-to excuse when facing local members angry over flagrant betrayals of their manifesto commitments has been to dismiss it as “entryism”, despite there being no solid evidence for it whatsoever. It suits Remainer Tory MPs to blame Leave.EU rather than unhappy local members. Blame that Arron Banks gleefully accepts

Instead of idle speculation, YouGov have done a rigorous study into Tory members, when they joined the party and why. While a large number of recent joiners did say it was because they wanted a vote in the leadership election, the vast majority were Tory supporters already before they actually joined the party. Leadership contests have always been good recruiting tools for pre-existing supporters who just haven’t bothered to join the party they back:

Whilst recent joiners are more likely to support Boris, even pre-2015 members still overwhelmingly prefer Boris to Hunt by 63% to 37%, so it’s largely immaterial to the final result. There’s simply no evidence that there’s been entryism on any significant scale – newer members may be more ‘Brexity’ but they are still overwhelmingly Tories. Brexit-blocking MPs have no excuse for not listening to the genuine concerns of hard-working local members any more…

+++ Phillip Lee No Confidenced +++


The second referendum backing Tory MP has so alienated members of his constituency association that he didn’t even turn up at the Bracknell Conservative Association’s Special General Meeting. Unsurprisingly they voted that they had no confidence in Phillip Lee. Contemptible cowardice or arrogance from the man who had “Phillip Lee, Great British Hero” posters printed. Perhaps both.

UPDATE: Lee has issued a statement:

In the future, I may or may not decide that I can continue serving as a Conservative Member of Parliament and the Bracknell Conservative Association may or may not decide that they wish to readopt me as the Conservative Party’s candidate. But one thing is for sure: we will not be forced into taking a decision one way or the other by this orchestrated, destructive campaign from outside the Party that has done nothing but spread hatred, intimidation and distrust over a single issue. That is not the Conservative way; it is not the Bracknell way.

In reality, according to Guido’s co-conspirator in Bracknell, the only external people visible at the meeting weree about 10 or so People’s Vote ‘protesters’ outside the hotel where the meeting was being held. One had a placard “I support Phillip Lee”. Here’s the co-conspirator’s report

Overall, the meeting was good-natured but a few clashes between people. About 150 wish people attended I reckon. At the beginning of the meeting, the Chairman made it clear that the percentage would not be released, only whether the motion was passed or not – this is apparently in accordance with the constituency constitution (this caused some commotion). He absolutely refuted claims of ‘entryism’ suggesting new members were from both sides of the Brexit argument.

I got chatting to someone who had only been a member for 8 or 9 months (but life-long Tory voter) and he was present at the last AGM where Phillip Lee turned up but said nothing the whole meeting (just looked at his phone). This was brought up by a number of members, in addition to him not even bothering to attend this meeting. This wound a lot of people up. There were quite a few life-long Tories who had re-joined recently.

Many people who spoke mentioned his position on Brexit and lack of support for the government but also mentioned his general attitude (not responding to emails, etc). Some councillors refuted this claim. Many scoffed at his comment about foreign money being involved in this action against him.

The most common argument for not supporting this amendment was that it was not the right time; this would play into the hands of the opposition, Phillip may run as an independent and split the Tory vote, etc. These suggestions didn’t go down well. Nothing positive really said about Phillip.

One laughable suggestion was that we should vote to reject this motion because the meeting alone would be enough to help change Phillip’s behaviour – “that boat has sailed” was heard after that comment.

Probably 90% people spoke against Phillip – bringing up all the above points – many of which got lots of applause. He just isn’t well liked.

That last point is a common refrain from people who have to deal with him…

Phillip Lee Makes Final Plea to Bracknell Tories Ahead of No Confidence Vote

Tory second referendum campaigner Phillip Lee is facing the music at a Special General Meeting of Bracknell Conservative Association this Saturday morning, they will vote on a no confidence motion in him. Except that Lee won’t even be there himself, he issued a shouty press release a couple of weeks ago dismissing it as “entryism”, accusing “a narrow group that seeks to destroy the Conservative Party from within” of trying to “intimidate” him into changing his Brexit position, and even telling his supporters not to attend the meeting either. That’s one way to rally support…

Dr Lee now appears to have realised that wasn’t a particularly good strategy and sent a lengthy email lovebombing all the local Tory members today. He even claims “I have never voted to stop Brexit” while giving an impressively slippery defence of his support for a second referendum. Bad Al Campbell would be proud:

“the only realistic way of healing the country and giving the Conservative party a fighting chance – a confirmatory referendum on a final deal to leave the EU, versus remaining as full members. This is not a way of delaying Brexit – I have always said that the final deal put to the people should be agreed with the EU and deliverable the day after the referendum. On the contrary, it is a way of bringing Brexit, one way or another, to a conclusion.”

Lee literally founded the hapless Tory People’s Vote campaign, needless to say local Tory members are not impressed with his last-minute attempts to spin it as something completely innocuous now. One tells Guido “the general view is that he doesn’t have a f***ing clue”…

Local members are also unimpressed with his attempts to blame entryism, they say many of the people unhappy with Lee have been members for fifteen years or more. Association Chairman Gerry Barber has emailed local members to inform them that only people who have been members for three months or more are entitled to vote. Interestingly he is not planning to reveal the precise vote tallies, only whether the no confidence motion passes or not…

Lee still throws a few red herrings out there to try to pre-emptively undermine the result, he repeats his message that his supporters need not attend, before urging them to vote for him after all in the very same paragraph “if you do, however, happen to be there.” Even if the no confidence vote succeeds, as it did with Dominic Grieve, this doesn’t deselect Lee directly – that would need to be done by a separate deselection vote. Looks like Phillip Lee might be getting his “confirmatory referendum” after all…

Read the letter in full below:

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Invisible Tory People’s Vote Campaign Raised £205,000 From Just Four Donors

Guido readers may struggle to remember Right to Vote – the hapless Tory ‘People’s Vote’ campaign – despite reportedly burning through £40,000 of ‘dark money’ in their first few weeks they’ve had almost no impact – anywhere. Now Guido’s calls for transparency have paid off and the money is ‘dark’ no longer. Right to Vote have been forced to register with the Electoral Commission and declare exactly where their cash came from…

The figures submitted to the Electoral Commission show that Right to Vote is even more flush with cash than first thought. In their short existence they’ve actually received four donations totalling a juicy £205,000, most of which has come from one company and its Director:

  • £150,000 from M7 Real Estate Limited – a company which describes itself as “one of the leading specialists in the pan-European, regional, multi-let real estate market.” Vested interests getting involved…
  • £10,000 from Richard Croft-Sharland, a Director of M7 Real Estate
  • £25,000 from Bar and Kitchen Limited
  • £20,000 from lawyer Constatine Partasides QC

Despite having six figures to splash, Right to Vote have barely 1,000 likes on Facebook and 1,500 followers on Twitter, while Guido had to scroll down to the eighth page of Google Search to find their website. That’s almost £130 raised per Twitter follower gained – what have they been spending all that money on? Looks like Phillip Lee’s leadership bid hasn’t quite managed to capture the public’s imagination yet…

Tory People’s Vote Campaign Using Undeclared Lobbyists

The Tory People’s Vote campaign, ‘Right to Vote’, has not exactly been a roaring success since it launched in January, despite being awash with undeclared dark money. Under electoral law, Right to Vote qualify as a members association, like Momentum, and are therefore required to declare any donations over £7,500, even outside election periods. Guido understands that the Electoral Commission will be meeting Right to Vote to remind them of their reporting obligations under electoral law…

Now Guido has learned that Right to Vote have also been engaging the services of lobbyists without declaring them to Parliament. Guido understands that lobbyists Interel Group have been engaged by Right to Vote, with Interel’s Katherine Morgan – a former Treasury civil servant who also worked for the European Commission – working on their behalf. Right to Vote are also engaging the services of Howard Bowden, who is listed as the media contact on their site. Bowden is a freelance PR and former Head of News for now disgraced PR firm Bell Pottinger…

Under Parliamentary rules, MPs receiving support from a lobbying company need to declare this as a donation to the relevant Register of Interests, and check that the donor is a permissible donation with the Electoral Commission. Neither Right to Vote Chairman Phillip Lee nor any of his fellow Right to Vote MPs have declared their use of lobbyists…

What Phillip Lee has declared are two donations in kind from The Common Sense Collective Ltd in the form of “services to assist with media and communications”, to the tune of £7,860. However, these donations appear to be impermissible as their most recent records at Companies House show that Common Sense Collective is a dormant company.

Under electoral law a dormant company cannot make a political donation – it must be registered at Companies House and carrying on business in the UK. Unless Common Sense Collective have resumed trading without yet informing Companies House, Lee will have accepted impermissible donations and will need to forfeit their value to the Electoral Commission…

Right to Vote are certainly not short of cash, just last month they sent a first-class mailshot to every Tory Association Chairman in the country asking them pressure their MPs into support a Brexit “timeout”. Each letter was personalised for every individual constituency, including specific constituency-level voodoo polling from dark money-hungry anti-Brexit campaign Best for Britain. The vast array of second referendum campaigns are all flush with buckets of cash from anonymous donors and corporations, yet Guido cannot remember the last time a single broadcaster challenged a Remainer over the source of their funding…

UPDATE: A spokesman for Interel Group tells Guido: “Some colleagues worked with the Right to Vote campaign for two weeks earlier this year. We took the decision to end this. We did not receive any payment and we have declared this in the Public Affairs Board Register as pro bono activity”. Even if it’s pro bono work Lee should still have declared it himself as a donation in kind…

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Tory People’s Vote Campaign Loses Most of its MPs Despite Burning Through £40,000 of Dark Money

The Tory awkward squad launched their own “distinctive” People’s Vote campaign last month under the excruciatingly bad name-pun of ‘Right to Vote’. At the time of their launch Right to Vote widely claimed to have 10 Tory MPs on board, although Phillip Lee only counted eight at the launch event – Sam Gyimah, Heidi Allen, Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Guto Bebb, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and himself.

That number appears to have shrunk even further by the time of their latest ‘intervention’ this week, with just four MPs putting their name to their letter calling for Brexit to be delayed – Gyimah, Lee, Grieve and Bebb along with two hardline Remainer Lords. They seemed so desperate for MP support that the letter even originally listed “Baroness Altmann MP” as a signatory before the amusing mishap was corrected…

Incredibly, Right to Vote have reportedly spent a whopping £40,000 so far, despite not even having a website or a Twitter account at the time they launched, and their woeful lack of impact generally. As a campaigning organisation specifically made up of members from only one party they also clearly satisfy the Electoral Commission’s definition of a ‘members association’, which means they have should have registered with the Electoral Commission and declared every donation they have received over £7,500 by now – they haven’t. By law, the public have a right to know exactly whose dark money they’ve been fruitlessly burning through…

Phillip Lee’s Tweets Make No Sense

Remainers are getting very excited about junior Justice minister Phillip Lee’s Project Fear 2.0 tweets last night. He essentially warned against a real Brexit “if these figures turn out to be anywhere near right”.

This makes no sense. The leaked forecasts predict what is going to happen in 15 years’ time, and look at models the government is not pursuing anyway. How does Lee plan on working out if they are “anywhere near right” before we Brexit? Illogical attention-seeking from an ambitious Remainer…

Tory MPs’ Parliamentary Ski Week Freebie

skiiers blunt spelman copy

During the Tory turmoil of the March recess, journalists calling up MPs’ mobile phones were met with a chorus of foreign dial tones. Some of the backbenchers briefing hacks from ski slopes at least paid for their holidays themselves. Crispin Blunt, Phillip Lee, Tim Loughton, Antoinette Sandbach and Caroline Spelman however enjoyed £2,500 worth of free ski passes courtesy of the Swiss Parliament. The alpine alliance bagged tickets to two of the world’s top skiing resorts, all paid for as part of the British-Swiss All Party Parliamentary Group’s Parliamentary Ski Week. Suspect that is one of the more popular APPGs…

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Councillor John Thomas, Keith Vaz’s Leicester East Constituency Labour Party Chairman says…

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