EXCL: Tories rake in over £5m from just 49 individual donors under Theresa May
A select group of wealthy donors has contributed a third of Tory funding since Theresa May became Prime Minister, PoliticsHome can reveal.
The 49 individuals have donated a total of over £5.5m and are all members of the elite ‘Leader’s Group’ of Conservative supporters.
The group is described on the party’s website as “the premier support group of the Conservative party”, with donors getting direct access to senior ministers, in exchange for a £50,000 membership fee.
Members are “invited to join Theresa May and other senior figures from the Conservative Party at dinners, post-PMQ lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches”.
Since Mrs May took office in July last year the elite group of donors have coughed up £5.521,469, and between them they have contributed over £40m to the party since 2001.
Other groups open to well-off supporters include the Front Bench Club, the Renaissance Forum and the Treasurers’ Group, which offer varying degrees of access to senior Tories depending on membership fee.
Back in 2007, when Mrs May was shadow Leader of the Commons, she told MPs that "in order to restore public trust, we must remove the dependency of the political parties on all large donors, regardless of whether they are individuals, businesses or trade unions”.
Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett hit out at the PM over her party's reliance on big individual donors.
“It’s a disgrace that Theresa May is being still propped-up by a small number of super-rich donors who have bought access to her and her Cabinet Ministers," he said.
“That 49 of the Tories’ dinner guests are bankrolling her party, show that the Tories truly are a party for, and funded by, a privileged few."
Figures released yesterday showed the Tories have massively outgunned Labour in big money donations since the start of the general election campaign.
Mrs May’s party have been handed £6.5m in donations since the beginning of May, compared with £3.36m for the opposition, who draw the vast majority of their funds from trade unions.
The Electoral Commission data showed the Tories took in £3.7m from big donors in the third week of May alone, including £1m from theatre producer John Gore.
A Conservative spokesman told PoliticsHome: “All donations to the Conservative Party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law.”