Ben Elliot and cash for access

Are we back to the nineties? Is cash for access is the latest Tory party scandaIs and is Ben Elliot one of its key enablers.
Picture Ann Holland

Ben Elliot is a nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall and therefore Prince Charles. The Financial Times recently picked up Mr Elliot’s involvement in inviting Tory donors to join a secret advisory board. The same story also hit the headlines in both The Sunday Times and the i.

The Times went with the royal connection. It reported on the prince’s candlelit dinner at Dumfries House with Mohamed Amersi and his Russian partner, Nadia. The pair took a private jet to Glasgow and were then chauffeured to Dumfries House where Charles gave them a guided tour followed by a lengthy dinner. A few weeks later, Amersi had donated a six figure charity to the Dumfries House renovation charity.

It was, of course, Ben Elliot who made the introduction.

Secret advisory board

Dean Kirby wrote in the i that Labour is asking the Tories to name the government ministers who join this secretive advisory board. The Financial Times states that is “the most desirable club in the Tory party”. Some individuals have given more than £250,000 to the Conservative Party.

Chair of the Labour party, Anneliese Dodds has written to Amanda Milling (Tory party co-chair, along with Ben Elliot), demanding the list of elite donors and ministers who meet and engage on the advisory board. “The Conservatives have serious questions to answer over this latest cash for access scandal. The public have a right to know which government ministers are meeting with donors who have access to the corridors of power, including what appears to be exclusive access to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.” 

The Sunday Times provides more detail of Quintessentially, Elliot’s ‘global concierge company to the ultra-wealthy. As Amersi said, “Unless you have somebody like him who opens these doors for you, it’s not possible, it’s not so easy.”

Ben Elliot, the Tory party and Prince Charles

Ben Elliot has raised vast amounts of money for the Conservative party: £37.4 million, in fact, accrued for the last General Election. There have been two huge scandals. The first concerned access to housing minister Robert Jenrick by the billionaire Richard Desmond. The second is ‘wallpaper gate’ – the financing of the redecoration of the Prime Minister’s flat above 10 Downing Street.

The newly-described link between Ben Elliot, Prince Charles and Russian money smells of yet another example of Tory croneyism.

One rule for them

As Dodds wrote: “There cannot be one rule for high-ranking Conservatives and their friends  and another rule for everyone else.”

Ben Elliot, using his company and his position as Conservative chairman, is only deepening the morass in which the Tory party buries its financial dealings.

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