Ex-Tory treasurer gives party £500k after Boris makes him a peer

Disgraced multi-millionaire ex-Tory treasurer Peter Cruddas gives the party £500,000 donation after Boris Johnson over-ruled authorities to hand him a seat in the House of Lords

  • Baron Cruddas gave the Tories £500,000 in February, new figures reveal
  • He was made a peer by Boris Johnson in December despite official objections
  • Banker and businessman has previously donated more than £3.5million to party 

A multi-millionaire former Tory treasurer has donated £500,000 to the party this year, months after controversially being handed a seat in the House of Lords by Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister sparked a croynism row last December when he over-ruled objections to make Peter Cruddas, dubbed the  ‘City of London’s richest man’, a peer.

At the time he was estimated to be worth £860million and had previously given more than £3.5million to the party.

Figures released by the Electoral Commission today show that the banker and businessman, en-nobled as Baron Cruddas, poured an additional six-figure sum into central party coffers in February.

As well as the £500,000 for the central party funds, he also donated £10,000 to the City of London and Westminster branch of the party in March, making him the party’s largest individual donor of the period.

Baron Cruddas is controversial because he quit as treasurer in 2012 after nine months following an undercover newspaper investigation into ‘cash for access’ claims. 

 Figures released by the Electoral Commission today show that the banker and businessman, en-nobled as Baron Cruddas, poured the six-figure sum into party coffers in the first quarter of 2021.

The Prime Minister sparked a croynism row last December when he over-ruled objections to make Peter Cruddas, dubbed the ‘City of London’s richest man’, a peer.

 

The cool half-a-million makes him the party’s largest individual donor of the period and adds to the more than £3.5million he has previously given the party. He is estimated to be worth £860million.

Brexiteer tycoon gives Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party more than £1m 

Laurence Fox’s Reclaim party was handed more than a million pounds by a Brexiteer who previously backed Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. 

Jeremy Hosking was the largest individual donor to any party int he first quarter of 2021, Electoral Commission records show.

He handed former actor Mr Fox’s nascent party more than £1,153,000 between January and March, with £1million in the later month alone.

Mr Hosking was a Conservative donor until 2018 when he became disillusioned with the impasse over Brexit and plunged money into the Brexit Party, then led by Mr Farage. 

Its successor party, Reform, led by Richard Tice, linked up with Lewis star Mr Fox to back his bid to become London mayor last month. 

However, he came a distant sixth, finishing with 47,634 votes, or 1.9 per cent of those cast. 

He was apparently recorded offering access to figures such as then prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne in return for ‘premier league’ donations in 2012.

The City tycoon denied wrongdoing and claimed his comments were just ‘bluster’.

He lost part of a libel action over the issue on appeal, although judges backed him over a separate allegation that he had countenanced breaches of electoral law surrounding foreign donors, and he ultimately won £50,000 damages on this point.

At the end of last year Cruddas was given a life peerage by Mr Johnson, despite its Appointments Commission advising against the move.  

In a letter to commission chairman Lord Bew, the Prime Minister rejected the ‘historic concerns’ raised about Mr Cruddas.

Explaining his decision, Mr Johnson said ‘the most serious accusations levelled at the time were found to be untrue and libellous’, and an internal Conservative Party investigation ‘found there had been no intentional wrongdoing’.

‘Mr Cruddas has made outstanding contributions in the charitable sector and in business, and has continued his long track record of committed political service,’ the Prime Minister said.

‘His charitable foundation, which supports disadvantaged young people, has pledged over £16 million to good causes through over 200 charities and he is a long-standing support of both the Princes Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.’

On the appointment of Mr Cruddas, a statement on the gov.uk website said: ‘The House of Lords Appointments Commission was invited by the Prime Minister to undertake vetting of all party political and cross-bench nominations.

‘The commission is an independent non-statutory body. It provides advice but appointments are a matter for the Prime Minister.

‘The commission has completed its vetting in respect of all nominees.

‘The commission advised the Prime Minister that it could not support one nominee – Peter Cruddas.

‘The Prime Minister has considered the commission’s advice and wider factors and concluded that, exceptionally, the nomination should proceed.’

The Eelectoral Commission today reported that 20 political parties registered in Great Britain and Northern Ireland reported accepting a total of £15,298,219 in donations and public funds in the first quarter of 2021.

This was up from £11.9m in donations reported in the same period in 2020. 

The Conservatives received the most of any party, with £6,418,296, with Labour second on £4,348,849. The opposition party’s largest donor was the Unison trade union.

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