Tagged: Mr Wharton

Stockton South Tory MP received £22k in donations

Stockton MP James Wharton received £22,000 in donations between July and September – the fifth largest amount donated to any individual MP during the period.

The donations amount to almost as much as the £29,400 received by the whole of the Plaid Cymru party in the same timeframe.

No other Tees MP received individual donations in that time period, according to the data collated by Trinity Mirror.

But several donations were made to constituency party offices on Teesside.

Mr Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, received two donations of £10,000 each and one of £2,000.

One of the donations worth £10,000 was given by former Conservative party co-treasurer  Peter Cruddas.

The other was given by company JCB Research Ltd – owned by Anthony Bramford, a Tory life peer and chairman of construction equipment firm JCB.

The remaining £2,000 was donated by IPGL Ltd – a privately-owned holding company of a trading group, based in London.

Mr Wharton told The Gazette he would “not spend public money on my newsletters or leaflets”.

“I work hard to stay in touch with residents all year round – not just at election time,” he said.

“I am pleased to do this without spending taxpayers money.

“I am sure many taxpayers in our area will appreciate that too.”

> Perhaps they should withold judgement until they’ve seen what he claims on expenses…

The donations will help Mr Wharton, one of only two Conservative MPs in the North-east, as he seeks to defend a majority of just 332 at next year’s General Election.

He has previously received separate donations in 2013 from former Newcastle United chairman Sir John Hall and Alexander Temerko, a Russian businessman.

Mr Temerko was allowed to stay in Britain after a judge ruled an attempt to extradite him to Russia on fraud charges was politically motivated.

As such, he is allowed to make political donations.

Mr Wharton has also received funding from the United and Cecil Club.

The organisation has come under the spotlight after supporting Tory candidates in a number of key marginals.

Under funding rules, wealthy supporters can give up to £7,500 without disclosing their identity if it is funnelled through a club.

Among other political donations on Teesside from July to September were:

:: £2,500 donated in Stockton South to the Conservative party from The Association of Conservative Clubs Ltd;

:: £1,700 worth of administration fees donated in Stockton South to the Labour party from UNISON;

:: £2,500 donated in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland to the Conservatives from a Richard E Jones;

:: £1,200 donated in Redcar to the Lib Dems from the Redcar and Cleveland Lib Dem Council Group;

:: £1,000 donated in Redcar to Labour from David Blunkett (the Gazette was unable to verify if this was the former home secretary);

:: £2,500 donated in Redcar to Labour from the Communication Workers Union.

The largest donation received between July and September this year was to the value of £950,000.

It was given to the Liberal Democrats by a George G Watson.

Source –  Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  19 Nov 2014

Chancellor urges super rich to bankroll campaign in Stockton South constituency

George Osborne urged super-rich Tory backers at a lavish black-tie gala to fund a campaign in a vital North-East constituency.

The knife-edge Stockton South seat – where Conservative James Wharton has a wafer-thin majority of 332 – took centre-stage at the dinner in Knightsbridge, central London.

Mr Wharton introduced the Chancellor at the event, organised by the secretive United & Cecil club, believed to have raised at least £130,000 for party coffers.

In return, Mr Osborne is reported to have told the guests: “Does anyone realise the significance of the number 332?”.

After explaining 332 was the size of Mr Wharton’s majority, the Chancellor is said to have urged guests to recognise it could only be defended with their financial support.

One source at the dinner, costing £250-per-head, said: “He said we need money to save James and others like him.”

The United & Cecil club is controversial because critics see it as a vehicle for getting around rules to ensure donations to Westminster candidates are transparent.

The Electoral Commission requires the identity of any donor giving more than £1,500 directly to a political party to be declared.

However, donors funnelling money through “unincorporated associations” – such as the United & Cecil club – need only be identified if they give more than £7,500 in any calendar year.

One calculation is that the United & Cecil club has donated around £300,000 to the individual Tory associations since 2010 – mostly in key seats, such as Stockton South.

However, the Conservatives hit back by arguing Labour is bankrolled by the trades unions and that all donations through its clubs comply with the rules.

The Northern Echo asked Mr Wharton to comment on the attention given to his constituency at the gala dinner, but he declined to do so.

Tory sources have previously suggested the Stockton South MP – a “fantastic campaigner on the doorstep” – is not on its 40-strong list of candidates in ultra-marginal seats who will receive extra help.

 However, Mr Wharton’s profile has soared after his, ultimately unsuccessful, backbench Bill to guarantee a referendum on EU membership.

David Cameron attended his  birthday celebrations earlier this year and invited him to Chequers last month.

Other guests included representatives from the global PR firm DDA Consulting, the wealth management company Killik & Co and the property firm Mayfair Estates.

One Tory MP present, Andrew Bridgen, said: “We can’t go to Len McCluskey for another million. This is how we do it.”

Source –  Northern Echo,  17 Oct 2014