Liz Truss raised £420,000 to fund her leadership campaign, but donations were only made public after she won
Truss’s biggest backer is a Conservative donor who is married to a former BP executive
Liz Truss received over £420,000 worth of donations to fund her campaign for the Conservative leadership campaign, but the details of these donations were only made public after she became prime minister.
More than half of the total amount came from just five individual donors, including the wife of a former BP executive and the wife of a prominent hedge fund manager with interests in the healthcare sector.
Despite receiving all of the donations in time to register them in an earlier version of the register of members’ financial interests, they all appeared in a later version which came out once the contest had concluded.
Majority of funding came from five people
Majority of donations came from The new prime minister received 22 separate donations from 21 sources in the final weeks of the Conservative leadership election.
Among her donors were a number of wealthy backers who had previously provided funding for Boris Johnson.
Both of her top donors were women, with Fitriani Hay providing a single donation of £100,000 and Nathasha Barnaba twice donating £50,000.
Hay is a prominent Conservative donor who has now given the party more than £750,000 since 2015, although her last donation of £150,000 came in 2017.
Hay is married to Scottish businessman James Hay, head of the JMH Group and a former executive at BP.
Barnaba, the wife of former JP Morgan senior executive Alessandro Barnaba, is a first-time donor to the Conservative Party.
Her husband held a number of roles at the international investment bank before co-chairing a major hedge fund and later joining a digital healthcare firm as a senior adviser.
The majority of the donations came from just five individuals.
The other top donors to Truss’ campaign were Howard Shore, Michael Spencer and Jon Moynihan, who gave £50,000, £25,000 and £20,000 respectively.
All three men are longtime Conservative backers, having donated over £2m to the party collectively since 2001.
Spencer was nominated for a life peerage in 2020 political honours.
Why weren’t the donations made public prior to Truss’ election?
The most recent update to the register was published on 8 September, covering the period up to 5 September 2022.
The register is updated approximately every two weeks when parliament is sitting, but less often when it is not, meaning that prior to this, the most recent version covered up to 8 August 2022.
That all of the donations which funded Truss’ leadership campaign were registered in this edition of the register meant that there was no opportunity for scrutiny of the new prime minister’s financial backers while Conservative members were still able to vote, or prior to her officially becoming prime minister.
All of the 22 donations to Truss registered in the 5 September edition were received prior to the publication of the 8 August edition of the register, with most received in mid-to-late July, meaning they could in theory have been registered in the 8 August edition.
The rules state that any donations must be registered within 28 days, meaning that in all but one case - a £4,356 donation for transport received on 15 July and not registered until 15 August - the donations were registered in accordance with the rules.
There had been speculation on social media that the latest edition of the register was published following the high profile announcement of freezing of energy bills to avoid scrutiny. However, the parliamentary commissioner for standards had confirmed to NationalWorld on 1 September that the next edition would be published between 7 and 9 September.