Monday, 16 July 2018

Tory 'Dark Money' Scandal Hits Banff & Buchan Tory MP


Over Half of Tories' Local Spend Came from Source Under Investigation

The ongoing controversy of the ‘Dark Money’ scandal which has hit the Conservative Party in Scotland has come to the North-east with the revelation that over half of the declared donations received by David Duguid MP’s election campaign came from a so-called ‘Dark Money’ source.

Campaign donation returns lodged by Banff & Buchan Tory Election Agent, former councillor Edie Chapman, show that a donation of £7500.00 was made to Mr Duguid’s campaign from the “Scottish Conservative Trust”, referred to by the MP in a radio interview as the Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT).

Campaign group Unlock Democracy said that unincorporated organisations like SUAT are often created by political donors to “exploit loopholes in electoral law” and to “shield themselves from scrutiny”.

There is little information in the public domain about SUAT. Electoral Commission records show that the trust’s date of creation was given as 26 April 1968. But SUAT is not a registered entity with Companies House, the Financial Conduct Authority, or OSCR – Scotland’s charity watchdog.

This means there is no information available about the people who currently manage the organisation, and no public accounts to indicate who its donors are, or what assets it holds.

It is understood the Electoral Commission are currently examining the source of these donations.

Commenting on the revelations, a spokesperson for Banff & Buchan SNP said:

“Ruth Davidson’s party locally has serious questions to answer over these revelations, as it seems the local Tories have been bankrolled by murky donations.

“The local Tory MP has admitted in an interview that he was more interested in electioneering than in where the money to fund his own campaign was coming from, passing that particular buck to his local party, in this case his Election Agent Edie Chapman.

“Now that this and several other donations to Tory campaigns across the country is under examination by the Electoral Commission, the local Tories must come clean and tell us what they know about the source of the ‘dark money’.

If they don’t know any more than what their own MP knows, then this raises serious questions about transparency and trust. The voters of Banff & Buchan are entitled to know who funds their MP.”

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Banff & Buchan Tory Donations return [click here]
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