Pro-Brexit Tories tell top donor to take cash elsewhere after single market threat
Pro-Brexit Tory MPs have told a major party donor he can take his money elsewhere after he threatened to pull funding if Theresa May takes Britain out of the single market.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said “bye bye, enjoy your money” after Sir Andrew Cook insisted he could not support the Prime Minister if she opted for a hard Brexit.
Sir Andrew, who chairs the steel firm William Cook and has handed the party more than £1.2m, said Britain would be “sleepwalking to disaster” if it pulled out of the EU completely to control its borders.
Mr Duncan Smith, who was a Cabinet minister until late last year, told the Sunday Telegraph: “I am not in the slightest bit interested with donors trying to dictate to the Government what to do.
“If that’s what he thinks his money was for then it would be better if he took it back.
“It is so ridiculous to start making threats like that. The Government has to do what the Government has to do. He’s a donor. If he wants to take his money away, bye bye.”
Former Welsh secretary John Redwood, said: “He is far from representative. The overwhelming bulk of Tory donors, despite the official Tory position, were in favour of leaving the European Union and we are going to do so. That is the fundamental point.
“The other point you have to make is you don’t buy policy by giving money to the Tory party. You give money to the Tory party if you like what it’s doing. If this gentleman [doesn't] like what it’s doing then of course he shouldn’t give it anymore.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: "Fortunately for our great country, unlike the union-bankrolled Labour Party, donating money to the Conservatives does not buy influence over Government or party policy and never will.”
Sir Andrew said yesterday: "There are barriers to entry without the single market, there are tariffs.
“There is a desire by my competitors in mainland Europe to exclude me from the market. Were it not for the single market I would not be trading with these people.”