Peter Cruddas

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Peter Cruddas

Peter Cruddas is Britain’s 15th richest man, and the founder of the spread betting firm CMC Markets.[1]

He is a Conservative Party donor and former co-treasurer of the party, resigning after a 'cash for access' newspaper sting.

He is a Brexit supporter and donor to the campaign for Britain to leave the EU.

Funding right-wing campaigns

Conservative Party

Cruddas is a major donor the Conservative Party.[2]

In June 2011 the self-made billionaire was appointed co-treasurer of the Conservative Party, alongside long-serving treasurer Stanley Fink.[1] [3] Fink stepped down in early 2012, to be replaced by another hedge fund millionaire, Michael Farmer. Just nine months later Cruddas resigned as Tory co-treasurer after a 'cash for access' newspaper sting (see below).

Brexit supporter

Cruddas was a major donor to the eurosceptic Vote Leave campaign in the UK's 2016 EU referendum. He gave the Brexit campaign £350,000.

In June 2016, the Financial Times reported that Cruddas had suffered losses due to market volatility in the wake of a Brexit vote. Cruddas saw CMC Markets's value drop by £100 million since the vote on 23 June 2016, with a recovery taking his losses down to just £30 million overall. [4]

Opposing voting reform

He was by far the largest donor to the successful ‘No to AV’ campaign in 2011, which opposed replacing the UK's first-past-the-postvoting with a fairer 'alternative voting' system. He effectively bankrolled the campaign with a donation of £400,000.[5]

Free-market think tank donor

An investigation of the funding of Policy Exchange in 2011 found that his Peter Cruddas Foundation was the think-tank's single largest donor. The Foundation donated £140,000 to Policy Exchange in 2007/8, £300,000 in 2008/9, and £120,000 in 2009/10.[6] These donations have supported research on public service delivery and welfare, ‘broken Britain’, and child poverty. The Foundation is credited in Policy Exchange reports on health, education and welfare reform and child poverty. [7]

Cash for access sting

A still from the Sunday Times undercover video which showed Peter Cruddas offering access to the prime minister David Cameron in return for donations to the Conservative Party.

On 25th March 2012 the Sunday Times released an undercover video showing Peter Cruddas offering access to the prime minister David Cameron in return for donations of around £250,000. In the video Cruddas states:

'Two hundred grand to 250 is Premier League… what you would get is, when we talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get you at the Cameron/Osborne dinners.
You do really pick up a lot of information and when you see the Prime Minister, you're seeing David Cameron, not the Prime Minister.
But within that room everything is confidential - you can ask him practically any question you want.
If you're unhappy about something, we will listen to you and put it into the policy committee at number 10 - we feed all feedback to the policy committee.' [8]

Following the release of the video Cruddas resigned from his position as Tory co-treasurer. Cruddas stated:

'Clearly there is no question of donors being able to influence policy or gain undue access to politicians. Specifically, it was categorically not the case that I could offer, or that David Cameron would consider, any access as a result of a donation. Similarly, I have never knowingly even met anyone from the Number 10 policy unit. But in order to make that clear beyond doubt, I have regrettably decided to resign with immediate effect.' [9]

However in June 2013 Cruddas won his libel case against Times Newspapers Ltd. The London Evening Standard reported that:

Former Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas has won his libel action over an allegation in the Sunday Times about charging £250,000 to meet David Cameron.
The 59-year-old businessman brought an action for defamation and malicious falsehood against Times Newspapers Ltd and two members of the newspaper's Insight team over three articles which appeared in March 2012.
They appeared after the journalists pretended to be agents for foreign investors who wanted to explore making donations to the party and hired a lobbyist, through whom they arranged to meet Mr Cruddas.
Unknown to him, said Mr Justice Tugendhat at London's High Court, each reporter carried a concealed camera with an audio recording facility.[10]

The Press Gazette reported that:

Cruddas complained the articles meant that, in return for cash donations to the party, he corruptly offered for sale the opportunity to influence government policy and gain unfair advantage through secret meetings with the Prime Minister and other senior ministers. He also said they meant he made the offer even though he knew the money offered for meetings was to come, in breach of the ban under UK electoral law, from Middle Eastern investors in a Liechtenstein fund and was happy that the foreign donors should use deceptive devices to conceal the true source of the donation.
The newspaper took issue with the meanings claimed by Cruddas, pleaded justification in alternative meanings to the libel claims, and denied the articles were false or published maliciously.
But yesterday Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled in Cruddas's favour on meaning, struck out the justification defence and entered judgment for him on the defamation claim, with damages to be assessed. The matter is due to return to court on 17 June.
The judge said that, in the light of his decision, it was up to Cruddas, who was also granted an injunction preventing continued publication on the newspaper's website, to decide whether to pursue the malicious falsehood claim.
A spokesman from the newspaper said: "The Sunday Times is applying for permission to appeal the decision of Mr Justice Tugendhat and will continue to seek to defend the undercover journalism behind this public interest report on cash for access to Cameron. [11]

Appeal Court overturns decision in part - libel trial to proceed

On 21 June 2013 Sunday Times won an Appeal Court decision against the ruling of Mr Justice Tugendhat that the published articles made an allegation of corruption contrary to the criminal law ([2013] EWHC 1427 (QB)). The Court set aside the orders striking out the defence of justification and entering judgment for the claimant. Lord Justice Longmore also lifted the injunction preventing publication of the allegations. [12]

The trial started on 2 July 2013.

Political Donations

Recorded by the Electoral Commission. For an up-to-date list of donations by Peter Cruddas, search the Electoral Commission website:[13]

Date Name of donor Amount Donated to Subsidiary (parties only)
18/11/2009 Peter A Cruddas £200,000.00 Conservative Party Central party
26/02/2010 Peter A Cruddas £50,000.00 Conservative Party Central party
09/04/2010 Peter A Cruddas £50,000.00 Conservative Party Central party
16/09/2010 Peter A Cruddas £8,000.00 Conservative Party Central party
16/12/2010 Peter A Cruddas £100,000.00 Conservative Party Central party
14/03/2011 Peter A Cruddas £9,600.00 Conservative Party Central party
09/06/2011 Peter A Cruddas £6,000.00 Conservative Party Central party
01/08/2011 Peter A Cruddas £258,500.00 Conservative Party Central party
14/02/2011 Peter A Cruddas £250,000.00 No Campaign Limited
11/03/2011 Peter A Cruddas £150,000.00 No Campaign Limited
14/12/2011 Peter A Cruddas £1,000.00 Conservative Party Central party
14/12/2011 Peter A Cruddas £124,451.76 Conservative Party Central party
16/03/2012 Peter A Cruddas £6,906.00 Conservative Party Central party
16/03/2012 Peter A Cruddas £1,000.00 Conservative Party Ipswich
16/03/2012 Peter A Cruddas £204,850.00 Conservative Party Central Party
25/10/2013 Peter A Cruddas £5,000.00 James Wharton MP
10/02/2014 Peter A Cruddas £10,000.00 James Wharton MP
02/07/2014 Peter A Cruddas £10,000.00 James Wharton MP
29/10/2014 Peter A Cruddas £5,000.00 James Wharton MP
10/03/2016 Peter A Cruddas £350,000 Vote Leave[14]
[15]


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Jason Groves, Billionaire gambling tycoon is new Tory treasurer... despite tax-dodging claims Daily Mail, 7 June 2011, accessed 9 June 2011
  2. Mark Hughes, 'Peter Cruddas: The boy Scout who left school at 15 and became a millionaire', The Daily Telegraph, 26 march 2012.
  3. James Quinn and Ben Harrington, CMC founder Peter Cruddas to be co-treasurer of Conservative Party , The Daily Telegraph, 7 June 2011
  4. Kate Burgess, 'Brexit backers hit by big losses on company shares', 29 June 2016, Financial Times, accessed 4 July 2016
  5. A Letter from Donors to NO to AV, 9 April 2011, accessed 1 December 2011
  6. see The Peter Cruddas Foundation
  7. The Cold War on British Muslims p.50
  8. 'Tory Peter Cruddas sold access to PM, Sunday Times allege', BBC, 25 march 2012.
  9. Daniel Boffey, 'Senior Tory Peter Cruddas resigns after cash for PM access sting', The Guardian, 25 March 2012.
  10. 'Former Tory treasurer Peter Cruddas wins libel action over 'cash for policy' claims', London Evening Standard, 5 June 2013.
  11. PA Mediapoint and Press Gazette, [Ex-Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas wins Sunday Times libel battle], 05 June 2013, accessed same day
  12. The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog, Case Law: Cruddas v Calvert, Sunday Times appeal allowed in part, no allegation of criminal corruption
  13. Donor Search, Electoral Commission, accessed 25 May 2016
  14. Donor Search, Electoral Commission, accessed 25 May 2016
  15. Electoral Commission, Donation Search, accessed 20 February 2015