March 25, 2006

Why haven't the Tories declared their loans?

Why haven't the Tories declared their loans?
Because they've got something to hide.

I expect the Sunday newspapers will be full of this, but the Conservatives are obviously trying to cover up who has loaned them money. Conservative blogger, Iain Dale, has named one of them: Michael Hintze, an Australian with British business links. I'll remind you that foreigners are banned from donating to British political parties, but clearly this rule doesn't apply to loans.

Meanwhile, political blog Guido Fawkes has speculated that many of the Conservatives' other loans could have come from hedge fund managers who've been reaping rewards from a healthy FTSE 100.

But I've got a feeling that this is the tip of the iceberg. I wonder how long it will be before we find out about more foreign loans to the Conservative Party, perhaps from people less scrupulous than Mr Hintze.

Labour are far from clean after the Loans for Lordships affair, but by declaring who has loaned them money, it's been made clear they're all pretty much British. Until the Conservatives do the same, a cloud will hang over them which suggests some of their 'loans' may have come from dodgy sources. And I wonder if the Labour Party may know more about the Conservatives' financial affairs than they are willing to discuss publicly.

The rumour mill still has some spinning left to do.

- 6 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. While I understand the reason behind other countries not being able to back political parties are the rules not different for countries where HRH is head of state?

    25 Mar 2006, 21:43

  2. Now why have the Tories not declared their loans? Probably because they haven't got any. Let's be realistic here, who on earth would donate to the conservative party? It's not lie they'll get a peerage for their troubles…

    25 Mar 2006, 22:14

  3. They've got £20m of outstanding loans, apparently, so someone must:

    a) be rich
    b) be stupid

    enough to throw money at a dead horse.

    25 Mar 2006, 22:26

  4. Opposition parties can nominate peers as well, so it wouldn't shock me in the slightest if there are naughty Tory loans as well.

    Of course Neil Hamilton used to be MP in the town just down the road from me so I've an inbuilt Tory=sleaze response anyway, hehehe…

    25 Mar 2006, 22:39

  5. Iain Dale

    Chris, your insinuation is wrong. Michael Hintze votes here and has fully declared donations to the Conservative Party.

    25 Mar 2006, 23:41

  6. He might vote here, but when donations are made via offshore trusts (link) and are then revealed against the Tory party's will, the whole process is tarred with the smell of a cover-up.

    The problem here isn't Mr Hintze, but others who we haven't heard about yet. If their names haven't been revealed, the obvious question to ask is what they gain from anonimity, and whether this is a smokescreen being held up to hide out-right rule-breaking?

    The Conservatives need to sacrifice a little financial stability by breaking confidentiality, in order to keep a relatively clean image. There is still a danger that they come out of this looking worse than Blair and Levy do.

    26 Mar 2006, 10:56

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