Show me the money!

I have a bit of question for the Tory Party’s Deputy Chairman, Lord Ashcroft, who ships up in today’s Torygraph with the following claim:

Two popular misconceptions have arisen about the Tory target seats operation…

…The second is that I give money directly to Conservative candidates or constituency associations in target seats. This is also untrue. All contributions, including my own, are given to the party’s central fund. Candidates are invited to submit campaign proposals to a committee at Conservative Campaign HQ which I chair in my capacity as the party’s deputy chairman with responsibility for field campaigning.

The committee – which also includes the party chairman, Caroline Spelman, professional party staff and senior volunteers – assesses each proposal and allocates funds to those we judge most likely to be successful. Candidates who receive funding provide regular updates to the team at CCHQ, which offers advice and expertise and ensures that the party receives the best possible return on its investment.

If that is true, then perhaps Lord Ashcroft would like to explain why, of the £565,374 donated to the Conservative Party by Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd over the last two years (Q2 2005- Q2 2007) – BCS is known to be Ashcroft’s main vehicle for padding Tory coffers – only £212,163.50 is actually recorded by the Electoral Commission as having gone to Conservative Central Office?

The balance of these funds – £353,210.50 – is recorded by the Electoral Commission as having found its way in Tory coffers by way of a total of 56 individual donations given directly to Conservative Associations (including one case of a donation to a Federated body, Milton Keynes, covering two constituencies).

Surely, if you have been following the process you describe, then all these small donations should be recorded as having gone directly to Conservative Central Office and not to the individual constituencies in question – shouldn’t they?

For the record, the list of Constituencies who have received funds directly from Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd over the last two year is as follows:

Constituency

Held By

Majority

Amount

Haltemprice & Howden

Conservative

5116

£30,000.00

Teignbridge

Lib Dem

6215

£25,000.00

South Dorset

Labour

1812

£21,982.96

Gravesham

Conservative

654

£18,426.83

Hereford

Lib Dem

962

£15,194.35

Welwyn Hatfield

Conservative

5946

£15,000.00

Keighley

Labour

4852

£14,842.57

Cheltenham

Lib Dem

2303

£14,832.49

Milton Keynes Federation (NW&SE)

Labour

Conservative

4010

1665

£10,258.66

Clwyd West

Conservative

133

£10,000.00

Croydon Central

Conservative

75

£10,000.00

Maidenhead

Conservative

6231

£10,000.00

Enfield North

Labour

1920

£9,176.24

Braintree

Conservative

3893

£8,674.08

Cardiff North

Labour

1146

£8,000.00

Warwick & Leamington

Labour

266

£7,320.00

Ilford North

Conservative

1653

£6,746.87

Hornchurch

Conservative

480

£5,414.17

Torridge & West Devon

Conservative

3236

£5,313.35

Putney

Conservative

1766

£5,300.00

Tamworth

Labour

2569

£5,000.00

Brighton Kemptown

Labour

2737

£5,000.00

Cities of London & Westminster

Conservative

8095

£5,000.00

Harrow West

Labour

2028

£5,000.00

Redcar

Labour

12116

£5,000.00

Watford

Labour

1148

£5,000.00

Clwyd West

Conservative

5946

£5,000.00

Gedling

Labour

3811

£5,000.00

Dewsbury

Labour

4615

£5,000.00

Eastbourne

Conservative

1124

£5,000.00

Torbay

Lib Dem

2029

£5,000.00

Vale of Glamorgan

Labour

1808

£5,000.00

Warrington South

Labour

3515

£5,000.00

Faversham & Mid Kent

Conservative

8720

£5,000.00

Eastleigh

Lib Dem

568

£4,989.31

Colne Valley

Labour

1501

£4,599.00

Orpington

Conservative

4947

£3,904.45

Taunton

Lib Dem

573

£3,500.00

Mid Dorset & North Poole

Lib Dem

5482

£3,000.00

Gillingham

Labour

254

£2,500.00

Shipley

Conservative

422

£2,093.93

Kensington & Chelsea

Conservative

12418

£2,022.58

Medway

Labour

213

£1,500.00

Bedford

Labour

3383

£1,498.00

Peterborough

Conservative

2740

£1,100.00

Ilford South

Labour

9228

£1,020.97

  • Pete B

    Interesting post – but I don’t see the list of constituencies in either of my browsers. Any chance of a link?

  • GW

    If we had a list of the favoured Constituencies then local campaigning on the “buying Votes” lines might well be a fruitfull line of attack.

    GW

  • Bugger, will sort the list out…

    Sorry, it’s a glitch in the WordPress editor that sometimes screws up tables.

  • Fixed it – list now sorted out properly.

  • Pete

    Well done Unity – thank you.

    It occurs to me that it would be very useful indeed if there were a source of this kind of info that we could refer to. As GW says above we (by which I mean the Roughly Left) often want to counter-attack, in local papers, on the Web, up the pub etc, but need a source that a) we can trust and b) opponents will have to give a good reason for dissing. “One reads in the Grauniad” is to invite ridicule, “but on ministryoftruth it says” obviously carries greater weight, but even better would be “the Electoral Commission says … and if that aint true somebody’s in big bother”.

    There must be lots of info on the Web, from non party-political sources, that could be used to support leftish-liberalish viewpoints on taxation, immigration, the Eu and so on that clever people like you guys no about and is freely available – but takes a long time to find.

    Just a thought.

    And thanks again for this bit.

  • Pete

    Aaaaaaaaagh! No! No! Not that! Not the “no” for “know”. No!
    … I know, I know … O.

  • GW

    Thank Unity – When I see what the “vermin” (Copyright Nye Bevan) are spending I think ther are grounds to be concerned, and equally grounds to consider legislation.

    One person who should be very worried is Cameron, ‘Cos look where the biggest sums are going – David Davies for PM anybody ?

  • Pete:

    The source of this info is the Electoral Commission – if you poke around their website in the regulatory section you’ll find an excel spreadsheet showing all donations to political parties from 2001 to, currently, Q2 2007.

    All I’ve done is extract the relevant data from the spreadsheet.