There’s been an air of confusion surrounding the Conservative Party’s accounts this week, after an unusually-high number of redactions were spotted on the documents. The Electoral Commission has since admitted to ‘making a mistake’ on the matter.
Why were names of Tory donors redacted?
The list of Tory donors features Lords, hedge-fund managers, and multi-millionaires. These declarations are meant to be a transparent and open process. However, some 13 years after the Tories were re-elected to govern, those values appear to have been lost.
Adam Bienkov, of the Byline Times, was quick to raise an issue with the redaction of these names. He pushed the Electoral Commission for answers, after noticing that the black bars of secrecy were obscuring crucial bits of information.
EC admits to ‘errors’ after donor names hidden from view
Thanks to his persistence, the commission responded promptly. It was stated that they had been ‘overly cautious’ in hiding the names, saying there were also fears about exposing ‘personal data’. They have since admitted reaching an erroneous judgment:
“We had taken the decision to redact donor names from page 37 of the party’s accounts, in order to protect the personal data of these donors. This was overly cautious and an error on our part, and the statement of accounts will be republished.” | Electoral Commission
The largest individual donation was paid-out by JCB Director Mark Bamford, who put a cool £973,000 into Tory pockets this year. Lords Michael Farmer and Stanley Fink both donated sums of just over £50,000.
“Are they trying to hide something”
Perhaps the last word is best left with Carol Vorderman. The vocal government critic pointed to some other recent scandals which involved Conservative politicians concealing their identities, hitting the nail on the head with her assessment:
“The Tories had no choice but to publish their donations this week, but the names were still redacted. So now they hide their party affiliations on their profiles, print fake newspapers, and issue green leaflets. Do you think they’re trying to hide something?” | Carol Vorderman