Owl says: The Conservative Party – DEFINITELY for the FEW and not the MANY!
“More than a third of donations to the Tories last year came from a tiny group of super-rich men who enjoy lavish secretive dinners with Theresa May.
Research reveals how much Britain’s party of government depends on a band of millionaires for survival.
And it comes despite Mrs May vowing in 2007: “To restore public trust we must remove the dependency of the political parties on all large donors.”
Labour analysed donations by the 64 people – 62 of them men – who attended ‘Leader’s Group’ dinners, hosted by the Prime Minister and other senior ministers, in the first half of last year.
The Conservative Party trousered £12.9million from these donors or their firms in 2017, Labour’s research shows – 39% of all cash donations to the Tories across the year declared so far.
More than a third of the dinners’ attendees were on the Sunday Times Rich List, which brings together the 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain.
And almost half were from the world of finance including hedge fund bosses Sir Michael Hintze, a billionaire knighted under David Cameron who gave £345,000, and Andrew Law who gave £604,000.
Financiers at the dinners gave £4.5million between them – while £3.7million came from Brexit backers.
Ferrari-collecting JCB billionaire Lord Bamford and his family, the 35th-richest people in Britain and prominent donors to Vote Leave, topped the list by giving £2.5million to the Tories personally and through their firms in 2017.
Major donor diners also included Addison Lee cab firm founder John Griffin, housebuilding billionaire John Bloor, and spread-betting tycoon and former Tory co-Treasurer Peter Cruddas.
Other attendees were oil tycoon Ian Taylor who rejected a knighthood in David Cameron’s 2016 ‘crony honours’, and Arbuthnot private bank boss Sir Henry Angest and Tory chief executive Sir Mick Davis – both knighted under Mr Cameron a year earlier.
The only two women among the 64 diners gave £328,000 between them.
Socialite, philanthropist and friend of Bill Clinton Alisa Swidler gave £87,000 while Lubov Chernukhin, the banker wife of Russia’s former deputy finance minister, gave £241,000.
David Cameron denied Ms Chernukhin was a “Putin crony” in 2014 when it emerged she had paid £160,000 for a tennis match with the then-Prime Minister and Boris Johnson.
The Conservative Party website boasts tycoons can pay £50,000 to join the Leader’s Group and attend private dinners with Theresa May and ministers as part of efforts “to defeat the rise of socialism”.
Despite David Cameron promising to publish regular lists of attendees, those for the first half of 2017 were only released several months late after pressure from the Mirror.
We revealed Theresa May dined on lobster and beef with several donors at a secret London venue hours after confirming millions of people’s benefits would be frozen.
No minutes of the dinner meetings are ever published, and the Conservatives refuse to say what is discussed at them.
And the meals are limited to a tight circle of ministers, with only Mrs May, Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond and five other Cabinet ministers taking part in the first six months of 2017.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: “The Prime Minister once said her party needed to remove its dependency on large donors and that she would not be driven by the interests of the rich and powerful.
“But after having to wait almost a year for the Tories to come clean about who is buying access to her and her senior ministers, we can see that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“As always with the Tories, the real decisions are made with a small group of wealthy backers.”