How can we trust the Conservative government to investigate Cambridge Analytica’s alleged interference with democracy when leading Conservatives have run parent company SCL – and have received hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations from it?

Here’s Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP in the House of Commons, asking Theresa May about this matter in Prime Minister’s Questions on March 21. Take careful note of her answer.

You’ll have realised that Mrs May did not answer the question at all; instead of addressing Conservative interests in SCL (and therefore in Cambridge Analytica), she said the government has no contracts with either company. That is a different matter.

Never mind. We can always dig out some evidence of our own. For example:

How about Roger Gabb, a director of SCL? He donated more than £700,000 to the Conservative Party.

The Guardian has named several other high-level connections:

Lord Marland, a successful businessman who became a minister in 2010, held shares personally and through two related investment vehicles, Herriot Limited and a family trust.

Sir Geoffrey Pattie, a former Conservative defence and industry minister, took a key role in the company for its first three years. In a Guardian article from 2005 he is described fronting the company’s stand – which is “more Orwell than 007” – at a defence show in London. Pattie is shown to have resigned as a director in 2008.

One of Marland’s fellow investors, and the person now registered as having “significant control” over SCL Group, is a Conservative party donor called Roger Gabb. Gabb has given £707,000 to the Tories since 2004, making contributions to the main party and his local Ludlow branch. In 2006 he gave £500,000 to the party, making him one of its largest donors at the time. He was also a campaigner for Brexit, signing letters on behalf of the campaign as a director of Bibendum Wine, and placing an advert in local newspapers. In October 2016 he was fined £1,000 by the Electoral Commission for failing to include his name and address in the advert.

The property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz was also a shareholder via his company Consensus Business Group. Tchenguiz donated £21,500 to the Conservatives between 2009 and 2010.

The fact that Cambridge Analytica was involved in the EU referendum means that voters may have been improperly influenced and calls the result into question.

And, with SCL and Cambridge Analytica under investigation, the reporter who broke this story has discovered that a contingency plan seems to have been triggered:

And what of the investigation being carried out by the Information Commissioner?

Considering the relationship of leading Conservatives – who currently form the government – with Cambridge Analytica, don’t we all have doubts?


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