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Monday, September 25, 2023

Skittling Tory Donors

It is getting to the stage where Rishi Sunak is going to run out of donors. First, we had the billionaire, John Caudwell quit over the 'madness' of the PM's u-turn on green policies, now we a major donor threatening to walk because of the downscaling of HS2.

Billionaire John Caudwell, who founded the now-defunct mobile phone retailer Phones4U, was the biggest donor to the Conservative party before the last election, donated £500,000 to the Tories, but says he is thinking about switching to Labour instead, because of the watering down of green policies.

He told the Sunday Times: “If Rishi sticks to this, would I donate to the Conservative party? Absolutely not. No chance whatsoever with the decisions they are making at the moment.

“Would I switch to Labour? The answer to that is very simple: I will support any party that I believe will do the right thing for Britain going forward.”

And now a prominent Conservative donor has threatened to stop supporting the party if Rishi Sunak scraps the Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2, as ministers consider pulling the plug on the multibillion-pound project:

Fears that phase 2 of the high-speed rail line could be junked were compounded on Sunday when Grant Shapps, the defence secretary, said it would be “crazy” not to review the plan in light of soaring costs.

A decision is expected to be taken by the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, and the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, early next week with an announcement pencilled in for Friday.

However, northern Tories believe that scrapping the northern leg before the Conservative party conference in Manchester next weekend would be a huge political embarrassment. They are urging Sunak to wait until closer to the autumn statement in November while they push for a compromise solution.

A leading donor to the party, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Generations of my family have been proud to support what was the party of business. We’ve given year in, year out for decades and been active in the party.

“But I’ve spoken to other donors, and several of them feel – possibly for the first time ever – recent events seriously call into question the ability to continue to support people who don’t do what they say they’d do.”

It's almost as if Sunak were lining donors up like skittles and taking them out one-by-one.
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