Robert Jenrick illegally approved the development of 1,500 homes in east London just weeks before the Tory Party was bumped £12,000 by a billionaire property developer.
Figures from the Electoral Commission reported in the Daily Mail show that Richard Desmond donated the five-figure sum after the Housing Secretary approved one of his schemes.
The £1 billion project got a last minute go-ahead after both the local council and the independent Planning Inspectorate had decided it should be refused.
His decision on January 14 came one day before Tower Hamlets Council approved a ‘community levy’ on developments that would have cost Mr Desmond’s company Northern and Shell between £30 million and £50 million.
After the council mounted a legal challenge in the High Court, Mr Jenrick accepted that his original decision had been ‘unlawful by reason of apparent bias’, quashed the decision and said he would take no further part in decisions about the application.
Last year it was revealed the Conservatives received 26 times more in big ticket donations than Labour.
Boris Johnson’s party took a whopping £5 million from donors who pledged over £7,500, far more than just £218,500 taken by Labour.
It means that for every £1 the Labour Party raised during the first week of the election campaign, the Tories raised £25.
Prominent donors included Russian banker Lubov Chernukhin, who is the wife of one of Vladimir Putin’s former ministers.
One of the payments, for £45,000, is understood to be the winning bid she made at the party’s annual Black and White fundraising ball for a game of tennis with Boris Johnson.
Country manor expenses
Jenrick faced criticism in April for moving his family to a £1.1 million country manor during the coronavirus outbreak, despite government advice urging people not to escape to second homes.
The cabinet minister, who also flouted lockdown rules by visiting his parents, has charged taxpayers more than £100,000 for the home that he appears to use only rarely.
He left his £2.5m London house to move to a 17th-century grade I listed country house in Herefordshire amid the coronavirus crisis.