Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent for the FT, opens his June 12th article by noting that a ‘clutch of Conservative party donors have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours, including Mick Davis, former chief of the mining group Xstrata, who has been knighted for services to the prime minister’s Holocaust Commission’. Pickard reports that Sir Mick has given £1.47m to the Conservatives and donated to Kew Gardens and the Royal Opera House. Points made:
- In 2011 Davis was named in a Cabinet report as one of six businessmen funding Adam Werrity, an unofficial adviser to Liam Fox when he was defence secretary. Mr Fox was later forced to resign amid questions about his relationship with Mr Werritty.
- Other benefactors in the honours list include Henry Angest, a former party treasurer, who has been given a knighthood for his political service.
- Pickard recalls: “Mr Angest gave the Tories a £5m overdraft facility just before the 2010 general election through Arbuthnot Latham, a private bank in which he owns a majority stake. He has also given £1.9m to the party in his name and through his companies, Arbuthnot Banking Group and Flowidea, according to Electoral Commission data”.
- Rory Brooks, head of the private equity firm MML Capital, who has given the party £300,311, received a CBE for charitable services – £1.4m to the Brooks World Poverty Institute at Manchester University.
- Jeremy Isaacs, former Europe chief executive of Lehman Brothers, who has given the Conservative party £416,500 and runs the private equity firm JRJ Group, was given a CBE for his service as chair of the remuneration committee at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Despite the ongoing cash for honours concern about the impact on democracy and decision-making in the public rather than corporate interest, in 2007, all concerned were reassured by a Crown Prosecution Service assessment quoted on a BBC website, that “For a case to proceed, the prosecution must have a realistic prospect of being able to prove that the two people agreed that the gift, etc., was in exchange for an honour,” and that “There is no direct evidence of any such agreement between any two people subject of this investigation”.
Would you buy a used car from these people?