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Dirty politics: Michael Ashcroft and the TPA’s millionaire funders

We're closing inToday’s Guardian reports:

“[TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew] Elliott flatly denied the TPA was ‘a Conservative front organisation’, and added that Lord Ashcroft, the party’s deputy chairman who is known to bankroll many Conservative candidates in marginal seats, is not a donor.”

But until the TaxPayers’ Alliance practises some transparency and publishes its accounts, we have no way of knowing.

What we do know is that Ashcroft works in close partnership with the TPA’s millionaire business backers, the Midlands Industrial Council. How do we know this? He says so:

“By now, too, I had two important and generous allies who shared my desire to target marginal seats. They were Leonard (Lord) Steinberg, the chairman of Stanley Leisure and a long-established party donor who had been Deputy Treasurer … and the Midlands Industrial Council, a group of Tory businessmen. Both wanted to join me in funding Tory candidates in marginal seats, and we decided that Leonard’s donations should be concentrated in the north, where he was based, and that the Midlands Industrial Council’s donations should be concentrated in the midlands, where it was based.”

Dirty Politics, Dirty Times, by Michael Ashcroft, 2006, page 303

“By early January 2005, Stephen Gilbert, my political consultant, with a view to determining whom to support in the marginal seats, had seen 150 business plans. On his advice, I had selected forty-one core Labour–Conservative battleground seats where we – Leonard Steinberg, the Midlands Industrial Council and myself – gave the bulk of our funding.”

Dirty Politics, Dirty Times, by Michael Ashcroft, 2006, page 309

“Of the thirty-three candidates who won seats from Labour or the Liberal Democrats, no fewer than twenty-five had received support from the fund that I had set up with Leonard Steinberg and the Midlands Industrial Council.”

Dirty Politics, Dirty Times, by Michael Ashcroft, 2006, page 311

Let’s be clear: the Midlands Industrial Council doesn’t just support the TPA financially. Several MIC millionaires sit on the council of the West Midlands TPA, the alliance’s most active branch.


Previous posts on TPA funding:

 

Posted by Other TPA at 12:05pm on 10 October 2009
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