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Three controversial donors backed Ben Gummer’s Ipswich election win

Three controversial Conservative party donors helped finance Ben Gummer’s successful campaign to win Ipswich, 113 on the Tory target list, at the last election.

Between them the three donors contributed £35,000. Two of them Andrew J. Clark (£25,000) and Abdul-Majid Jafir (£5,000) are listed without an address in Mr Gummer’s entry on the Commons register of MP’s financial interests.

The third is listed as a company donation of £5,000 from IPGL Ltd, of London EC2, but is from the business of Michael Spencer, who has a home near Woodbridge. He was revealed this week as one of the people who had a private dinner with David Cameron. According to the BBC he has given the Conservatives £173,000 since June 2006.

Andrew J Cook has been linked today by Ipswich Spy with the Andrew J Cook, who according to the Daily Mail sucked David Cameron into a “sleaze row… over a decision to axe an £80million loan”.

The loan was to Sheffield Forgemasters steel works. Mr Cook runs another steel company and was said to be considering making a bid for Forgemasters. He has donated More than £650,000 to the Conservatives and gave Mr Cameron flights, travel and sponsorship worth £88,000.

Mr Jafir who, according to the Daily Mail, gave £250,000 to the Tory Party is said to be a executive director of Crescent Petroleum Group.

The paper said, “in records at Companies House he is listed as being ‘usually’ resident in the United Arab Emirates.” His spokesman told the paper he was ‘definitely on the electoral roll’, and that he lived between Britain and the UAE.”

Ipswich Spy which first revealed the donations earlier today, reports:

Mr Gummer insists, however, that anyone who knows him will know that any allegation that money donated to his campaign has, or would, ever alter his view or vote is barking up the wrong tree. He told Ipswich Spy “all those who gave money to my campaign were people I know and none of them tried to ask me for favours or policy.

I tend to believe that Mr Gummer has not been influenced, but I also suspect that donors were pointed toward him and Ipswich by Conservative headquarters because it was one of the seats they had to win in 2010 if they were to have any change of forming a government.

That is simply how party funding in elections work. Labour in Ipswich had £10,000 during the last parliament from the Prospect Union and both parties has a little short of £60,000 in their fighting funds.

Ipswich Spy suggests that it is unlikely that when Mr Gummer was a candidate “anyone would be spending money on him with an eye to the future”.

I feel the eye was on the importance of the seat but also that donors recognised, in Mr Gummer, someone who would follow his father into the higher reaches of the party. John Gummer had a far less smooth ride into his first seat.

Mr Gummer registered six sponsors shortly after the 2010 election. In addition to the three named above, there was Ransome’s Dock Ltd of Ispwich (£5,000), Anglia Countrywide Management Ltd of Ipswich (£5,000), and Michael Peacock (£2,000), address private.

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  1. Labour’s David Ellesmere wants transparency on funding « Ipswich Spy says

    […] Gummer received before the election, and Andrew Grant-Adamson has done some further investigation here. According to the Electoral Commission Mr Gummer hasn’t received any reportable donations […]