Tories claim “Government policy is in no way influenced by the donations the party receives" after secret Tory donor club exposed


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LONDON (Bywire News) - A secret club exists for super-rich Tory donors to schmooze with senior members of the government including Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, it has been revealed. 

The Conservative ‘Advisory Board’ is an exclusive club for super-rich businesspeople who have donated large sums of money to the Tories.

In return for their financial contributions, members are invited to regular meetings and calls with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. 

According to the Financial Times, one donor said that some members of the secretive organisation use meetings to demand lower taxes and cuts to public spending. 

The group is reportedly run by the Conservative co-chair Ben Elliot - whose company, Quintessentially, admitted to making illegal payments to its shareholders earlier this year. 

In addition to the so-called 'Advisory Board', the Tories have another exclusive donors-only organisation - called the “Leaders Group” - which allows people who have donated £50,000 to the party exclusive access to ministers. However, the 'Advisory Board' gives more frequent and direct access to top Tory ministers.

One Conservative source said that whilst “not everyone” in the 'Advisory Board' had donated £250,000 this year, some members had previously donated large amounts to the party. 

Last year, eight indivudals donated £250,000 to the Conservative Party - whilst three donors have contributed the same amount in 2021. However, none of these donors have admitted being members of the exclusive 'Advisory Board' club. 

But one member did tell the Financial Times:

“T​he members are all free marketeers and are unhappy with the economic direction of the government. On the calls, they are frequently having a go at the government for raising corporation tax and telling them, ‘We need to stop all this state intervention’.”

In response to the reports, a Conservative spokesman denied the party had done anything wrong, stating:

“Donations to the Conservative party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and fully comply with the law. Fundraising is a legitimate part of the democratic process.”

And added: 

“Government policy is in no way influenced by the donations the party receives. They are entirely separate.” 

Despite the Tory spokesperson's claims, the last year has clearly shown that there are significant perks to being a Conservative party donor.

Indeed, since the start of the pandemic, a vast swathe of Tory donors have been awarded lucrative taxpayer-funded contracts by the government.

For instance, the chair of one of the companies who provided poor-quality meals to struggling families during school holidays gave the Tories more than £10,000. And Lord Brownlow, who paid for the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s flat, benefitted from public contracts worth up to £120m. 

And this is only the tip of the iceberg - with research conducted by Byline Times finding that almost £1bn in Government pandemic contracts were awarded to firms run by Tory donors. 

Analysis

Despite the astonishing array of evidence, the government is resolutely sticking to the line that notoriously stingy business people - who are forever complaining about having to pay tax (and in many cases simply avoiding paying tax completely because they're ridiculously selfish) - are simply handing over wads of cash to the Tories purely out of the goodness of their own hearts.

A very likely story indeed.

(Written by Jess Miller, edited by Tom D. Rogers.)

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