A new Tory fundraising drive is targeting members and supporters who have yet to donate to the Conservatives’ campaign. The email tells recipients that “Over the last twelve months Labour have raised nearly £13 million from donations alone. And now the polls are tightening. So we urgently need your help to match Corbyn’s war chest.”
The email, sent by co-Chairman of the party Ben Elliott, highlights members and supporters who have not contributed to the ‘Election Fighting Fund’ in an attempt to pressure them into giving £5 or 10 in the final days of the campaign. It’s more normal for late-stage fundraising emails to target supporters who have already donated – the Tories are pulling out all the stops following Labour’s massive union cash injection…
Guido’s investigation in late 2017 drew attention to the implausibility of Momentum having adhered to the laws on spending limits. The subsequent Electoral Commission electoral fraud investigation has borne this out, with Momentum today being fined £16,700 for multiple breaches of electoral law. The hard left campaign group has been found to have repeatedly filed inaccurate general election spending returns in 2017 despite being given a year to revise their return. They were also multiple failures to report donations accepted outside of an election period. The Electoral Commission says this is “the highest fine levied on a non-party campaigner for not submitting a complete and accurate spending return during the 2017 election.”
Momentum originally claimed they had only spent £38,743 across the whole of the 2017 election. Conveniently, just under the £39,000 spending limit for non-party campaigners…
Considering Momentum raised £120,000 from Crowdpac alone, they presumably expected the Electoral Commission would simply believe that they did not spend the vast majority of the money raised. But the Commission has concluded that Momentum’s spending report “was not accurate and Momentum subsequently delivered four further versions after the deadline, each of which reported different amounts of donations and spending.” Oh dear…
UPDATE: Despite the Electoral Commission stating bluntly that “Momentum did not cooperate fully during the investigation” they have responded with a lengthy statement essentially claiming it was all an innocent mistake. The make much of their small donations from volunteers, the Electoral Commission actually found they failed to declare big donations of tens of thousands from the TSSA union.
As the world learned this week of the horrific torture and murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi – he was according to some reports alive when his torturer began cutting him up with an electric bone saw – the register of MPs’ interests was published. The new register of interests reveals that Tory MP Rehman Chishti received £46,000 from Saudi Arabia between March 2016 and January this year for advisory work with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Chisti only stopped taking the lucrative £2,000-a-month payments from the Saudis when he became Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Communities in January. The party position comes with a £10,000 honorarium.
Guido looks forward to getting the benefit of hearing Chisti’s inside view of the Saudi regime’s behaviour when he speaks in the inevitable debates on the matter in the Commons…
Barry Gardiner has trousered another £77,000 from a law firm whose founder is linked to the Chinese regime, bringing the total he has accepted to over £380,000. Readers will remember how ‘Beijing Barry’ hit the headlines last year for taking huge sums in donations from Christine Lee & Co. Christine Lee describes herself as a “legal adviser to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the UK” and “legal adviser to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council” in China. Her son, Daniel Wilkes, works in Gardiner’s office as a parliamentary researcher. The register states Wilkes is “paid by Christine Lee & Co (solicitors) for the work I do in Parliament”…
Would young Dan have his parliamentary pass if mum wasn’t splashing the cash? Gardiner’s current brief concerns international trade with China. He was a vocal advocate of the Hinkley Point power station deal, which involved a Chinese state-backed firm. Both the donations and employing Christine Lee’s son are allowed under parliamentary rules. Which says more about the rules than anything else…
New BBC pay figures out:
1. Gary Lineker – £1,750,000-£1,759,999
2. Chris Evans – £1,660,000-£1,669,999
3. Graham Norton – £600,000-£609,999
4. Steve Wright – £550,000-£559,999
5. Huw Edwards – £520,000-£529,999
6. Jeremy Vine – £440,000-£449,999
=7. Nicky Campbell – £410,000-£419,999
=7. Alan Shearer – £410,000-£419,999
=9. John Humphrys – £400,000-£409,999
=9. Nick Grimshaw – £400,000-£409,999
=9. Stephen Nolan – £400,000-£409,999
=9. Andrew Marr – £400,000-£409,999
And if you don’t want to pay their wages, you end up in court…
Emma Dent Coad has come out swinging after being reported to the police by democracy campaigner Stuart Coster over her election expenses, telling the Standard: “These entirely baseless allegations make the erroneous assumption that one has to spend a lot of money to win an election”, and adding that she fought the seat “from my kitchen table with loads of volunteers”. Guido hopes she thought that line through…
This is Dent Coad’s election communication for the 2017 election. The imprint is personal to Dent Coad locally (not the national party), the content is fully local and can’t be considered national costs, yet the imprint refers to the printer “Sterling Press Ltd” which appears nowhere on the list of suppliers of her “Unsolicited material to electors”. A Labour source says Dent Coad declared a payment for her election communication to the Labour Party, which was then centrally paid to Sterling Press, in accordance with electoral law.
The leaflet also invites readers to order a poster (which a Labour source says was a Labour poster and therefore national spend), quotes a mobile phone number and refers to a web address – the costs for none of which during the regulated period are included in her return. Did she really only spend five grand on her entire election campaign?