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Bearwood Nov 28

Not a BBC Three spinoff from Doctor Who, but Bearwood Corporate Services, the medium of choice through which Lord Ashcroft funded various target seat campaigns for the Conservatives in the general election.

The Electoral Commission’s latest news release details donations and loans reported in the third quarter of 2006, but also include a list of donations that should have been declared earlier but weren’t. Sat on the naughty step with £207k of late donations are the Labour Party, followed by the Tories on £168k. (The LibDems were late with £23k, for which certain local parties deserve a metaphorical clip round the ear.)

Of particular interest are donations made before the 2005 general election. If that seems a long time ago, it’s because it was. The only LibDem donation to fall into this category was a transfer between councillors in Cannock Chase and their local party. The Tories, however, managed to fail to declare on time a number of Lord Ashcroft’s generous pre-election donations: £5,000 to the Harlow Association, donated in January 2005; £5,000 to Brighton Kemptown; £2,145 to the Hastings & Rye Association.

What may amuse LibDem and Labour bloggers is the constituency which received the largest previously-undeclared pre-election boost from Bearwood Corporate Services. Anyone want to hazard a guess? Yes, it’s the £7,993 donation to North Norfolk Conservative Association – and I think we all know who was the candidate there. Now I have no intention of casting aspersions on Iain, of course – PPERA reporting is not the parliamentary candidate’s responsibility – but I couldn’t help a wry smile at the coincidence. (And lest anyone forget, despite Ashcroft’s cash Norman Lamb romped home in North Norfolk, increasing his majority.)

That said, this donation nevertheless is trumped by larger previously unreported donations in Reading East, Wirral West and from the notorious Midlands Industrial Council to the Tory campaign in Shrewsbury & Atcham, among others.

All the main parties need to do better to ensure compliance with the PPERA, but some have further to go than others.

8 Responses

  1. […] PS As Will Howells has pointed out, another of the pieces of information revealled today is a list of Conservative local parties that received money from Michael Ashcroft before the general election but failed to declare it – although the law is very clear that they should have. One of the Conservative local parties which failed to follow the law was North Norfolk, whose then candidate was Iain Dale (though of course he wasn’t the Treasuer). I’m sure you will share my shock and surprise that, despite his love of party funding stories, this story doesn’t (at the time of typing) feature on Iain’s blog… […]

  2. […] Colin Ross has spotted in the donations register that Bearwood Corporate Services (about whom I’ve also blogged in the past) donated nearly £6,000 worth of bottle openers to the Conservatives in 2006. I wonder […]

  3. […] to a constituency hasn’t been declared. The previous cases of undeclared donations involved a range of other Conservative local associations, including North Norfolk Conservatives, who received a donation when Iain Dale was their […]

  4. […] One of Lord Ashcroft’s companies, Bearwood Corporate Services, has been a frequent donor to the Conservative Party. However, there was a string of failures by local Conservative Associations to declare the money they received. In February 2008, the Evening Standard listed three, whilst in November 2006 a series of others were named by the Electoral Commission. […]

  5. […] Failure to declare donations from Michael Ashcroft One of Lord Ashcroft’s companies, Bearwood Corporate Services, has been a frequent donor to the Conservative Party. However, there was a string of failures by local Conservative Associations to declare the money they received. In February 2008, the Evening Standard listed three, whilst in November 2006 a series of others were named by the Electoral Commission. […]

  6. […] One of Lord Ashcroft’s companies, Bearwood Corporate Services, has been a frequent donor to the Conservative Party. However, there was a string of failures by local Conservative Associations to declare the money they received. In February 2008, the Evening Standard listed three, whilst in November 2006 a series of others were named by the Electoral Commission. […]

  7. […] As Will Howells has pointed out, another of the pieces of information revealled today is a list of Conservative […]

  8. […] to a constituency hasn’t been declared. The previous cases of undeclared donations involved a range of other Conservative local associations, including North Norfolk Conservatives, who received a donation when Iain Dale was their […]

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