Theresa May’s Conservative Party has taken £5.3 million from donors that handed millions to the Vote Leave campaign.
The donations could constitute a conflict of interest as the Conservatives face calls to launch a full investigation into Vote Leave in light of an Electoral Commission ruling that they broke the law by exceeding spending limits.
It also raises further questions about the cooperation of senior Conservative figures with a possible police investigation. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson all sat on Vote Leave’s campaign committee and could face questioning.
Fifteen of the Conservative Party’s top donors donated £3,757,000 to Vote Leave in the referendum, and since then have handed Theresa May’s Conservatives a further £5,287,740.
Vote Leave: £600,000
The Bamford family, owners of excavator firm JCB, are one of the biggest donors to the Conservative Party. As well as financially supporting Vote Leave in the referendum, Lord Bamford wrote to his staff telling them to back Brexit.
Vote Leave: £350,000
City tycoon Peter Cruddas was a Conservative Party Treasurer until he was reported to have “corruptly offered access to David Cameron in exchange for donations”, and he remains a significant donor to the party. As well as donating to Vote Leave himself, he worked as the campaign’s co-treasurer.
Vote Leave: £100,000
Hedge fund billionaire Michael Hintze used to dine with David Cameron and used to offer Brexiteer Trade Secretary Liam Fox rides in his private jet. Ahead of the referendum, it was reported that hedge funds stood to “bank million more pounds a year in the event of a so-called ‘Brexit’”.
Vote Leave: £300,000
Another multi-millionaire hedge fund chief, Michael Farmer was a former Tory treasurer and bankrolled his Bullingdon Boy son’s Oxford University Conservative club. In October he warned Theresa May against “another unsatisfactory and unfavourable deal” with Europe, and claimed that a no deal Brexit could “free” and “challenge” Britain.
Vote Leave: £850,000
Property and motoring billionaire Lord Edmiston was made a Tory life peer in 2011. He has since quit the Lords but continues to support the party financially. At the referendum he announced he would be giving a total of £1 million to various Brexit campaigns, accepting that Brexit would cause a “re-adjustment” but convinced that a “world of opportunity” would “open up for business once it is unshackled from burdensome EU regulation”.
Vote Leave: £50,000
David Ord, millionaire owner of the Bristol Port Company, received a knighthood after giving £930,000 to the Conservatives. He signed a letter in June telling Theresa May to “issue instructions to UK authorities to accelerate their preparations for no deal”.
Henry Keswick & Family
Vote Leave: £20,000
Eton-educated billionaire Henry Keswick is a member of the Keswick family who own the Jardine Matheson trading company and originally made their fortune in Victorian Britain’s Opium Wars with China. He and his wife have donated significant sums to the Tories, but has said little of his reasons for bankrolling the Vote Leave campaign.
Vote Leave: £916,500
Multimillionaire City asset manager Jeremy Hosking used his influence with the Conservatives to call on Theresa May to resign to save Brexit in May. He funded Brexiteer Conservative candidates going up against Remain MPs in the 2017 election as part of a bid to secure Brexit, despite the fact he admits “there might be some short-term economic pain”.