The Brighton Argus has published details of who is financing the campaigns in Brighton Pavilion, Brighton Kemptown and Hove, with details of donations going back to 1995. And it makes quite interesting reading, and requires some questions to be asked. Who, are what, is the United & Cecil Club? Or The Winston Churchill Dining Club? Or the Intensive School of English and Business Communication?
The United & Cecil Club makes very generous donations to the campaigns of Conservative candidates Charlotte Vere (£12,000), Simon Kirby (£12,000) and Mike Weatherley (£3,000). Ms Vere is the poor relation amongst the Tory trio, having raised just £12,000 (although she was only selected late last year). Simon Kirby has put over £21,000 of his own money into his campaign but has still enjoyed further support of £17,000 from the Winston Churchill Dining Club.
Mike Weatherley in Hove has received just £2,000 from the Winston Churchill Dining Club, but he has rich friends such as local ‘entrepeneur’ Mike Holland (£5,000), former Tory MP Sir Timothy Sainsbury (you may wish to consider where you do your shopping in future) who has given £7,500, and property developer John D Regan (£5,500). The biggest personal donation to the Mr Weatherley came from Stewart W Newton (£12,000).
The Lib Dems have received just £6,016 for all three seats, a reflection of their prospects in Brighton and Hove.
Labour’s Simon Burgess has received £33,324, primarily from the Co-operative Party and the GMB Trade Union. Similarly, the majority of Celia Barlow’s £12,495 has come from these two sources and a small donation from the Communication Workers Union. But what is most significant as far as Labour is concerned is the mere £11,080 donated to Nancy Platts, again from The Co-operative Party, the GMB and £4,500 from Unite. If there was a Pound for Pound comparison for the energy and effectiveness of campaigning, Nancy Platts would win hands down between the three Labour candidates. She deserves to have had the resources channelled to Simon Burgess directed into her campaign.
As for the Greens, they have received £92,914 for their three campaigns. It is not clear how much has gone into Caroline Lucas’ campaign, but it can be assumed that the majority has gone into Brighton Pavilion. All the Green’s donations have come from individuals, none from ‘Dining Clubs’.
The Tories have always been funded from shadowy figures, and there remains a lack of transparency. How much, for example, is being channelled to seats in Brighton and Hove from Lord Ashcroft? Labour candidates have always received funding from trade unions. Afterall, it was the unions that were largely behind the setting up of the Labour Party. A little more clarity from the Greens would be welcomed, and a redistribution of campaign funds from Simon Burgess to Nancy Platts would ‘level the playing field’ in Brighton Pavilion.
Overall, this is an unfair situation. The boys, Kirby, Weatherley and Burgess, have received almost £150,000 between them, while Vere, Platts and Barlow just a total of £37,000. Lucas is the exception to the rule, but then Brighton Pavilion is that party’s number one (and only?) genuine target seat.
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Argus, Brighton Kemptown, Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, Celia Barlow, Charlotte Vere, Co-operative Party, Communication Workers Union, Conservative, GMB, Hove, John D Regan, Labour, Lib Dems, Lord Ashcroft, Mike Holland, Mike Weatherley, Nancy Platts, Simon Burgess, Simon Kirby, Stewart W Newton, The Co-operative Party, Timothy Sainsbury, Unite, United & Cecil Club, Winston Churchill Dining Club | 12 Comments »