Brexit minister Steve Baker reported for ‘taking cash from DUP’
A Brexit minister is facing allegations he accepted a mysterious donation from a group that bankrolled the campaign to leave the EU.
Steve Baker, a prominent Brexiteer who was promoted to the frontbench after his work with David Davis, took £6,500 from an organisation called the Constitutional Research Council (CRC).
The same group was behind a large donation to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in the run up to the vote to leave the EU.
The CRC gave £425,622 to the DUP while the referendum campaign was in full swing.
There is very little information on the elusive CRC – they do not have a website, a press team or campaigns team, no membership list and appear not to be registered as a company.
Ben Bradshaw, the former Labour culture minister, has written to Kathryn Hudson, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, asking her to investigate the donation.
In his letter, Mr Bradshaw said there was “strong evidence” the donation did not come from “a permissible donor”.
However, the Electoral Commission would have had its hands tied during the campaign as it is not allowed to publish the names of donors in Northern Ireland.
Mr Bradshaw has previously raised the issue of the DUP with Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons. She said: “I share his concern that we need to make sure that all donations are permissible and legal.”
Last night Mr Bradshaw said: “We know a donation from this organisation to the DUP in the EU Referendum was ruled impermissible by the Electoral Commission and the DUP were fined.
“So, it is important the parliamentary standards commissioner can satisfy herself that a similar breach has not occurred here.”
A spokesman for Mr Baker said: “All the steps have been taken to ensure donations are registered and accepted in accordance with the rules, and we are confident that they do so.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe