Boris Johnson’s Conservatives took more than PS6 0 million from the property sector in the past several decades. This is more than one-fifth of all reportable gives received by the party, the highest ratio of any UK party. Activist say the financial reliance leans diplomats “under pressure to provide exclusive access.” See more tales on Insider’s business page.
Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has only one “unhealthy fiscal reliance” on gives from the real estate sector, activists have warned, as they exposed new digits to work out the scale of support given to the party.
The research by Transparency International UK found that between January 2010 and March 2020, PS60. 8 million was given to the Conservatives from individuals and companies within the property sector.
This figure is more than a fifth of the reportable gives received by the Conservatives, the highest ratio of any political party in the UK.
Much of that fund came from a small number of individuals, with one in every 10 pounds of reported donations to Conservative Party HQ between 2015 and 2019 coming from only ten donors.
Duncan Hames, a onetime Liberal Democrat MP and Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, told Insider: “While it is no secret that political parties receive much of their funding from a relatively small number of donors, the extent to which the Conservative Party depends financially on those with major quality interests is of serious concern.
“An unhealthy business trust on those with vested interests in one sector positions ambassadors under pressure to provide exclusive access which creates a real risk that decisions are skewed in their favour. Breaking this dependence is key to removing the risk of undue influence and freeing government to explore bolder solutions to address the housing crisis.”
Ties between the Conservative Party and the property sector is not limited to donations, with hundreds of fills reported between ministers and groups lobbying on quality issues.
Transparency International UK’s analysis of government reports of ministerial convenes found there were 669 joins to discuss housing editions between January 2017 and March 2020.
Individual Conservative MPs also have strong links to the sector. Insider reported last month that the former Welsh Secretary minister Alun Cairns held meetings with a Singaporean firm that owned a PS500 million property empire loaned to the UK government. Since leaving his ministerial berth, he has taken a PS30, 000 a year job with the firm.
Anneliese Dodds MP, chair of the opposition Labour Party, said: “It’s no wonder the Conservatives are balk more transparency on property ownership, when gathering coffers are stuffed full of so much cash from major overseas belonging tycoons.
“This is yet another example of how the rules around clarity for lobbying ambassadors aren’t fit for purpose. We need to know who is lobbying rectors, what they want from government and what is discussed when they meet.
“We need urgent reform. It cannot be the case that it is one rule for the Conservative and another for everyone else.”
Duncan Hames said: “Access and potentially force in UK politics remains woefully opaque. We know more about those seeking to shape planning decisions in rural Ireland than we do about private interests trying to shape decisions and housing plan in Whitehall.
“Time and time again we find government departments failing to follow their own transparency rulers while the limited statutory register of consultant lobbyists merely depicts a minuscule part of this draw. A major overhaul of the UK’s lobbying rules is needed to increase transparency and ensure there are fewer angles for gaffe to hide.”
The group proposes an end to the influence of big-hearted sponsors in politics by introducing a PS10, 000 limit on gives from individuals and companies per sponsor per year.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “Government policy is in no way influenced by the donations the Party receives – they are entirely separate.
“Donations to the Conservative Party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law. Fundraising is a legitimate part of the democratic process. The alternative is more taxpayer-funding of political campaigning, which would intend less fund for frontline services like class, police and hospitals.
“The Conservative Party is delivering on its manifesto commitments to deliver more homes, with brand-new residence supplying having risen to its highest levels for 30 times. Driving with the house manufacture is an essential part of coming brand-new homes constructed and regenerating brownfield land.”
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