openDemocracyUK

A millionaire is planning to spend around £700,000 to target pro-Remain MPs at the election

A top donor to the Brexit cause is now planning to flood constituencies across the UK with his money

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Sunny Hundal
15 May 2017
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The EU Referendum. Flickr/Conway Hall. Some rights reserved

Jeremy Hosking donated over £1.5 million to the Leave cause during the EU referendum. Now he is turning his sights on pro-Remain MPs at the upcoming elections.

He says he is planning to spend around £700,000 to help target (Labour) MPs seen as sympathetic to the EU cause. The move is likely to fuel further concerns about how rich individuals are having a disproportionate impact on our democracy.

Hosking told the Observer over the weekend that he would target Tory candidates in 138 constituencies where most voters backed Brexit, but are represented by an MP who voted to Remain in the EU. He plans to donate around £5,000 per candidate, leaving him with a bill of up to £700,000 according to the Observer.

This move has broader consequences too. For a start it will strengthen the hand of Tory MPs who favour a 'Hard Brexit' stance against the EU.

As oD-UK reported last week, the Conservatives are facing a 'cash crunch' from traditional donors who mostly favoured to stay in the EU. As a result donors who favour a harder line against the EU are stepping up to the plate.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has had little to say on the impact of such donations on our democracy.

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As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

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