.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, March 04, 2024

Tories spreading the wealth

Is there a cost of living crisis? Not according to this article in the Mirror.

The paper reports that wealthy donors paid £25,000 for a cosy private dinner with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, just days before he is due to deliver his Budget speech.

They say that a Japanese meal with the chancellor and up to three guests was auctioned off at the Tories' Winter Party at Westminster's swanky Old War Office hotel, and a signed photo of the Cabinet is understood to have sold for around £115,000:

The unnamed winning bidder also secured face time with the Prime Minister himself, who will be handing over the photo personally. Super-rich donors paid up to £15,000 a table for the chance to rub shoulders with senior Cabinet ministers.

The notorious fundraising auction sees the Tories sell access to Cabinet members for cash to fill the party's election war chest. Mr Sunak, Home Secretary James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps all attended the posh party, arriving by government limousine despite their offices being around five minutes’ walk away.

Culture Secretary Lucy Fraser, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins, Chief Whip Simon Hart and science minister Michelle Donelan were all seen arriving on foot.

And Susan Hall, the Tory candidate for Mayor of London, also attended - skipping the last City Hall “People’s Question Time” of the term to do so. A London Labour source said: "It's clear where the Tory candidate's interests lie and it's certainly not being held to account by Londoners.

"Instead of carrying out her statutory duties, she missed the final People's Question Time of the term and was instead wining and dining so the Tories can line their pockets in an election year. The Tories simply cannot be trusted to stand up for Londoners - they don't even turn up."

Also available for bidding was a day's clay pigeon shooting with Home Secretary James Cleverly, tickets to a Liverpool football game with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and a night out at a west end show with Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer. Luxury getaways were also on the block, with lots including a party villa in Turks and Caicos donated by a Lebanese cannabis entrepreneur who has been branded a “Wolf of Wall Street”.

Nigerian-born businessman Bassim Haidar, 52, offered up a five-night stay for ten people at the fully staffed luxury beach house, called “The Villa Bash”. Mr Haidar, who also attended the event and has separately given more than £300,000 to the Tories, owns a business empire which includes a medical cannabis firm.

Also among the wealthy donors attending the party were Lubov Chernukhin, the biggest female political donor in history. Her husband, Vladimir, previously served as deputy finance minister of Russia under the rule of Vladimir Putin. And Egyptian-born billionaire Mohamed Mansour - whom Mr Sunak named “senior Treasurer” of the party - was seen arriving,

A week for 10 people in the Bahamas was auctioned, staying in a plantation house built for Sir John Colleton in the 17th century. Sir John, a slave owner, was later given land in what later became North and South Carolina, and is credited with introducing slavery to the region. Meanwhile, a box for 20 at York Races with “a champagne reception, gourmet lunch and fully inclusive bar,” was auctioned, donated by Ferrari-driving businessman Steve Parkin.

Mr Parkin, the founder of Clipper Logistics, has handed £730,000 to the Tories since 2017. Clipper Logistics, of which Mr Parkin remains a shareholder, was handed £11m to deliver PPE during the pandemic - and later a further £4.5 million to destroy unused and unsuitable PPE.

Its deal to dispose of PPE was signed last October, after Clipper was sold to US logistics giant GXO. Mr Parkin ceased to be involved in the firm as part of the £964million sale. But he and other top bosses retained millions in shares. One major party donor was left disappointed by the auction lots, which he told the Mirror were "very poor choices".

Donors attending Thursday’s lavish soiree were treated to Laurent-Perrier champagne on arrival. They were served a 2022 Domaine Roger Champault Sancerre "Les Pierres" white wine, worth £27.50 a bottle, and a 2021 Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon worth £23 a bottle over dinner.

The meal opened with rainbow trout with a squid ink emulsion and baby leeks, or Yorkshire celeriac for vegetarians. They tucked into a main course of Hereford beef fillet and oxtail, served with creamed spinach, herb crusted King Oyster mushrooms and fondant potato. The vegetarian option was a glazed, spiced aubergine.

And the meal was topped off with a cholocate pudding with whipped ganache, or a passion mango coconut lime panna cotta for the vegans in the room.

Surely it is time to better regulate this sort of excess when it comes to funding political parties.

You could say it is the final fling of a declining Conservative party.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?