UK conservatives prodded for true source of party donations
Labour Party takes a swing at the Tories and accuses them of being “asleep at the wheel” over the influence and sources of foreign money.
Chair of the independent committee on standards in public life, Lord Jonathan Evans, said the government needs to improve diligence checks to establish the true source of "donations", The Observer reported.
Last week, The Observer revealed that an Indian businessman, Karan Chanana, who is under investigation for fraud and money laundering, had donated more than £220,000 to the Conservative party.
“The UK’s current rules do not provide a sufficiently robust safeguard to protect our electoral system from the effects of foreign money, our 2021 report included important recommendations to mitigate these risks," said Lord Evans.
“The changes we proposed were not radical or bureaucratic, but they could have a significant impact on the integrity of our electoral system. We would urge the government to take them forward as a matter of urgency.”
On its part, the Labour Party took a swing at the Tories and accused them of being “asleep at the wheel” over the influence and sources of foreign money.
Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds said, “With recent news that Tory donors have links to alleged money laundering, fraud, corruption and other unacceptable activities, the question is: is there anyone the Conservatives won’t accept money from?
“Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have serious questions to answer. They need to come clean about what due diligence they carry out on their donors – and why it appears to be so inadequate. They also have to explain why they whipped their peers to vote against an amendment to close loopholes on foreign donations.”
Typically the British constitution, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, forbids parties from receiving funds from foreign donors, however, critics argue that there are loopholes that can be abused.
Earlier this month, an amendment aiming to resolve these loopholes to carry out due diligence on the true source of donations was voted down by the government.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak downplayed Labour's disapproval and expressed he is "not bothered" by the criticism of his wealthy family's tax arrangements and assumes that the UK has "moved beyond" judging people based on their money, as a new estimate predicts that the UK Prime Minister's fortune fell to approximately £500m.
Britain's wealthiest PM said he never paid attention to Labour's personal attacks on his finances.
According to the New Sunday Times rich list, his family's wealth has plummeted by £200 million in the last year due to a drop in the value of his wife's shareholding. It wrote that Sunak, a former hedge fund manager, and his wife, Akshata Murty, had an estimated worth of about £529m, a fall from £730m in 2022.