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Labour’s anger as Tory group pockets £50,000 for campaign


More than £50,000 of private donations made to a parliamentary campaign in Pembrokeshire has been described as an ‘abuse of our democratic position’.

The Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Conservative Association has received the money in the past two-and-a-half years to back the campaign by Simon Hart, who is chief executive of the Countryside Alliance.

The seat, held for the past 18 years by Labour’s Nick Ainger, is regarded as a key target for the Tories.

As a Labour whip, Mr Ainger helped introduce the Hunting Act five years ago. At his campaign launch last week, he said: “People don’t realise the huge sums that have come into this constituency with just one aim — wanting to see the foxhunting ban overturned.”

He added: “We don’t want to go back to the days where rich people are able to influence the outcome of an election. It’s an abuse of our democratic position.”

Former First Minister Rhodri Morgan, who was at the launch, said: “It’s not going to work because Pembrokeshire people are very independent. The fact you can buy a seat by paying money into it won’t wash.”

But Mr Hart has hit back, saying any notion of ‘buying’ an election campaign is “rubbish”.

He said: “We all have to raise money to fight our campaigns. Mr Ainger does it courtesy of the taxpayer and trade unions and I am doing it via personal friends who have chosen to support me. We are all subject to a legal spending limit, regardless of how much money is raised.

“I am surprised my colleagues on this political journey prefer to examine whether or not my friends support my campaign, rather than account for their record and set out their vision for the future.”

More than £45,000 has come in from Johan Christofferson, who is a hunt joint master and whose donations to the party now total more than £250,000.

Donations to the constituency also include a further £2,000 from Lord Daresbury, a former chairman of the Masters of Foxhounds Association.

Claims by Mr Ainger that at least £25,000 has been given to the constituency by Conservative party vice-chairman Lord Ashcroft through his company Bearwood Corporate Services have been dismissed as ‘ludicrous’ by Mr Hart.

Plaid Cymru criticised the peer’s involvement with the Tories after the Preseli Pembrokeshire association received £9,500 for a campaign assistant’s salary between 2004 and 2005.

Mr Hart said: “I have had some marginal seat funding from central office, but no money from Lord Ashcroft.”


Your Say YourPembrokeshire

Tye says...
4:00pm Sat 17 Apr 10

I accept that there are a few people who truly care about ALL animals BUT surely the VAST amount of people who supported the fox hunting ban were pure hypocrits - happy to eat the (cheaper) supermarket animals who are force fed drugs, growth enhancers in their short sad lives before being killed.
And lets not forget the reason behind the ban - a sop to the leftwing of the labour party who were seething at having to go into a needles war as blair had been told by his US boss to do as he was told.
Also amazing that more parliament time was spent on the badly drawn bill (which is why there is still fox hunting) than there was into going to an useless war to ensure cheap petrol to the US market - that backfired, didn't it?

heidicorbally says...
8:24pm Sat 17 Apr 10

That's quite a generalisation you have made there about 75% of people who oppose hunting with hounds. There is no one more full of hypocrisy than fox hunters who are happy to ignore ACTUAL science and continue to attempt to patronise the British public into believe nonsense about pest control and agriculture. As someone who grew up on a farm I can vouch for the hunters not giving a toss about my land. They trampled on it, scaring my sheep half to death and where completely out of control. It needs to remained banned for the sake of the countryside.

Tye says...
8:23am Sun 18 Apr 10

75%?

jackanory, jackanory

Seriously though - it all depends on how the questions asked- do you want to kill these luvly cuddly wuddly animals?
I'm sure the "great british public " would not give a **** if the foxes were as ugly as a chicken or the creepy crawlies in -I'm a celebrity, get me out of here (where more die in one evenings "entertainment" for the same great british public than the number of foxes in a year)

dave1998 says...
12:16pm Sun 18 Apr 10

Tye - I think you live in your own little fantasy world!

Just because someone eats meat doesn't mean they also support cruelty to animals. And the hunting bill is all about stopping the needless suffering of animals.

And how do you know the bill was "a sop to the leftwing of the labour"? Again, you just invented that to suit your little world.

And as for the public only supporting the bill because of how an animal looks - I think you really have lost it now. You're just assuming that everybody thinks like you!

Grow up and stop embarrassing yourself!

Tye says...
1:01pm Sun 18 Apr 10

dave1998 wrote:
Tye - I think you live in your own little fantasy world! Just because someone eats meat doesn't mean they also support cruelty to animals. And the hunting bill is all about stopping the needless suffering of animals. And how do you know the bill was "a sop to the leftwing of the labour"? Again, you just invented that to suit your little world. And as for the public only supporting the bill because of how an animal looks - I think you really have lost it now. You're just assuming that everybody thinks like you! Grow up and stop embarrassing yourself!
I was pointing out the utter hypochrisy of only caring about fluffy pretty animals and not giving a darn (d a m n apparenbtly censored- why?) about the ugly ones

How about looking at the vast majority of brits saying they support "animal welfare" - yet when this pushes up costs for the british farmer they are quite happy in buying the cheapest /dam the animal welfare foreign meats

and as far as the fox hunting being a sop to the left - are you the only person who didn't know or do you really and pretend its not so?

philipw says...
10:11pm Mon 19 Apr 10

I have found it sickening to see the amount of blue billboards littering the hedgerows along the main roads of our Carms and Pembs. It also shows who has most to gain by the Tories being re-elected-wealthy landowners, not ordinary Joe public like me and you.
It took the League Against Cruel Sports over 50 years of campaigning to get the hunt ban on the statute books.I hope and pray(as a vegetarian) that this cruel sport is not ever reintroduced.
By the way, the Countryside Alliance,of whom Simon Hart is CEO,forecast Armageddon in the countryside if hunting was banned with thousands of job losses and the countryside destroyed. Don't think it's happened, do you?

Tye says...
7:25am Tue 20 Apr 10

voting for the first time in Pembs - have to say its a lot more interesting being in a marginal - Labour knives are out to stab the tory in the back.
Unfortunately those knives aren't too sharp are they :)
remind us how much money ainger had to give back after the expenses fiasco? ;-)

Tye says...
7:30am Tue 20 Apr 10

perhaps the telegraph could have a look at aingers funding(?) - trade unions for example, certain local businesses ? just to show they are impartial ofcourse

indeview says...
9:11am Thu 22 Apr 10

I see the electoralcommission.
org.uk has a running list of weekly donations to and borrowing by political parties at UK level.

stackrocks says...
2:43pm Thu 29 Apr 10

Same old tory story, help the rich get richer and hope it trickles down to the poor. The Labour party have done many things I dont agree with but dont forget we now have a minimum wage and free NHS, the unemployment rate in pembs may be creeping up but it is nothing compared to rate under a tory government, people have such short memories. Or maybe they can afford private dentists and afford to waste their time chasing small animals across the countryside pretending to be doing people a favour when really they're just feeding their need to see small animals ripped apart by a pack of dogs. Its unreal that this debate still exists and that there is a serious threat that Simon Hart wants to bring this sick SPORT back into fashion. I shall support anyone who feels they have a chance against bringing blood sports back. The Western Telegraph is not biased Tye thats a poor arguement considering they have published all your comments.

Tye says...
3:10pm Thu 29 Apr 10

stackrocks- All i'd say is that as I understand from the BBC website it was £40k over several years and it was listed unlike a million to labour that had to be given back when it was found out (remember the formula1 debacle)
The BBC ofcourse has to be fair in the run up to a general election - papers don't which is why they have exagerated the figures(?)
Cruelty fo foxes? whats all the fuss when blair and labour went into an illegal war where 100s of thousands of people die and folks get their knickers in a twist over pretty vermin killed by "toffs"(ofcourse ugly vermin can be exterminated any old way)

Animal Aid says...
5:34pm Wed 5 May 10

What is principal in Simon Hart's agenda? Representing the people of Camarthen West and South Pembrokeshire or restoring the cruel depravity of hunting with hounds and hare coursing?

Your sayYour Pembrokeshire

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