A Welsh Conservative MP who vowed to speak-up for the voiceless has now banked two major donations from elite London institutions in little over a month, according to UK Parliament records.
Nation.Cymru revealed earlier this month how Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie received £7,500 from the Cayzer Trust, a company which manages the wealth of Britain’s 172nd richest family, on November 30.
Now the register of MPs’ interests shows Crosbie accepted a further £4,500 on January 12 from the political committee of the Carlton Club, where membership costs £1,542-a-year and the strict dress code bans cravats along with jean and t-shirts.
That is the second-highest sum donated to any Conservative MP by the Club during this Parliament.
And it means Crosbie has received the equivalent of £235-a-day from wealthy donors since the end of November despite describing herself as “dedicated to social mobility” and touting her credentials as a ‘blue collar’ Conservative.
“My grandfather was a miner in Wales for 47 years, and my mother worked in a jam factory,” she told MPs in her maiden speech.
“I am the first person in my family to have stayed on at school beyond the age of 16… I want to be a voice in this place for those who have no voice.”
The Carlton Club’s political committee is part of a network of so-called ‘dark money’ donor groups, which distribute money to the Conservatives on behalf of rich individuals who want to support the party financially while remaining anonymous.
Such funding is legal but Transparency International says “it shows the rules aren’t achieving their aim: providing transparency and probity over the origins of money in politics.”
Another such group is the United and Cecil Club, whose registered address is in the Holborn area of central London, which gave Crosbie £3,500 to fight the last election.
That means the source of 88% of donations registered by Crosbie, whose website describes her as a “strong voice for Ynys Mon, can be found within a two-mile radius of Westminster.
The former chair of Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives is one of six newly-elected Conservative MPs in Wales who have received ‘dark money’ donations totalling over £30,000.
Most of the money funded their general election campaigns, but now Conservative donors are turning their attention to holding seats won unexpectedly from Labour in 2019.
As well as the £12,000 received by Crosbie since November, the Carlton Club also gave £2,500 to Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton in September as part a spending spree on former ‘red wall’ seats.