Tufton Street Linked Donors Have Given £630,000 to the Conservatives Since Sunak Became Prime Minister

https://www.desmog.com/2023/04/21/tufton-street-linked-donors-have-given-630000-to-the-conservatives-since-sunak-became-prime-minister/

Financial, ideological and senior staff ties are still channelling the interests of opaquely funded think tanks into the heart of government.

The Conservative Party has received in excess of £600,000 since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister from four board members at leading Tufton Street ‘think tanks’, a new DeSmog analysis shows.

The data also shows that free market groups based in Tufton Street, Westminster, have retained significant influence in Sunak’s administration. More than half a dozen Tufton Street alumni currently serve as special advisers to the government, while seven ministers have appeared at events hosted by Tufton Street groups since Sunak became prime minister in October. 

These groups have often acted as a blocker to climate action. All are known for their anti-big-state and pro-fracking views, while their anti-green stances range from opposition to state-led climate intervention to active climate science denial. Previous reports indicate that Tufton Street groups have received substantial funds from organisations that support climate science denial in the past decade, with some donations provided directly by fossil fuel firms.

The joint-largest donation to the Conservatives during this period was made by Graham Edwards, a board member at the influential Centre for Policy Studies (CPS). He gave £500,000 in December 2022 – the same month that he was appointed as Tory treasurer, responsible for party fundraising.

Other CPS board members – Lord Michael Spencer and Lord Anthony Bamford – have also donated £100,000 and £10,000 to the party respectively since Sunak became prime minister. Lord Spencer donated via his family holding company, IPGL, while Lord Bamford’s donation is linked to his construction conglomerate, JCB.

As revealed by DeSmog this week, a firm owned by a director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) – one of the UK’s principal climate science denial groups – also donated £20,000 in March to House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt and Conservative MP Liam Fox. 

The CPS, which is based out of 57 Tufton Street, is a leading member of the network. This alliance of free market think tanks and lobby groups catapulted into public consciousness last autumn for its outsized influence over former Prime Minister Liz Truss and ex-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, whose ‘mini budget’ on 23 September 2022 caused market panic and a dramatic fall in the value of the pound. 

The funding of Tufton Street groups is notoriously opaque. Every single one of its members was given the lowest transparency rating – E – by openDemocracy’s ‘Who Funds You?’ 2022 report into think tanks. Tufton Street groups have earned £6 million collectively in their latest accounting periods.

“It’s time to kick toxic fossil fuel interests out of politics once and for all,” Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, told DeSmog. “This government’s murky ties to Tufton Street have barely diminished since Liz Truss’s economy-wrecking mini budget fiasco. When we face a rapidly closing window of opportunity to tackle the climate emergency, there are still countless climate-denying and delaying influences right at the heart of government.”

https://www.desmog.com/2023/04/21/tufton-street-linked-donors-have-given-630000-to-the-conservatives-since-sunak-became-prime-minister/

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