Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tories Struggle to Repay [Pounds Sterling]16m Loans to War Chest; CASH CRISIS AS DONORS AWAIT OUTCOME OF LEADERSHIP CONTEST

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tories Struggle to Repay [Pounds Sterling]16m Loans to War Chest; CASH CRISIS AS DONORS AWAIT OUTCOME OF LEADERSHIP CONTEST

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

THE Conservative Party owes at least [pounds sterling]16million and faces a financial crisis this year, the Evening Standard has learned.

Insiders have revealed that the party's election costs were mainly met by taking out a series of massive loans from wealthy supporters. At least [pounds sterling]12million is owed to individual donors while another [pounds sterling]4 million was borrowed from constituency parties.

"The party is looking at a debt of some [pounds sterling]16million to [pounds sterling]20million, which will have to be repaid before a war chest can be built up for the next election," said a source.

"Nobody likes to talk about it because it is a symptom of the party's difficulties."

Donations to repay the money dried up when Michael Howard announced his resignation, with donors holding back to see who the new leader is. Staff at the party's Victoria Street campaign headquarters have been warned to expect cutbacks within weeks.

The disclosure emerged as Mr Howard declared formally he will stay on until the end of the year.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he said: " I hope we will have a new leader by Christmas."

A side-effect of what Tories are calling "The Long Goodbye" is that donations are unlikely to start flowing again until next year. Last night the new shadow foreign secretary, Liam Fox, highlighted the political implications of this mood.

The election showed that "in marketing speak, we were successful in selling the product, but not in selling the brand," he said.

"People bought into our policy agenda," Dr Fox added, "but they were not yet willing to buy into us as a party."

Today former Tory leader William Hague firmly ruled himself out of the contest for leadership of the party. "I certainly will not be standing however many people ask me to do so," he told BBC Radio 4. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.