Top Tory donor who gave party '£1.6m' refuses to detail vetting process

27 March 2022, 14:00 | Updated: 27 March 2022, 15:01

Tom Swarbrick grills Temerko over donations

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A veteran Tory donor has refused to say what checks were carried out on him when he started giving money to the Conservative Party.

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Ukranian-born businessman Alexander Temerko, who is also a former Russian defence official, was grilled about his contributions to the party by LBC's Tom Swarbrick.

Mr Temerko, who gained British citizenship in 2011, has reportedly donated more than £1.6million over the last decade.

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It comes amid controversy over some donors and whether they influence government policy.

Asked if he was ever vetted before he donated, Mr Temerko said: "I think there is a law... the Electoral Commission and every donation must be declared."

He insisted there are "strong" checks for donors and "many" have been "rejected".

Alexander Temerko interview part 2

However, when asked what the checks are, he said "we don't have any big scandals in the Conservative Party for donors", adding all donors are "decent people".

When further pressed, he continued "I'm not member of this committee" adding it would be "better" to ask the party about "the procedure".

He insisted again: "I believe we have a very strong check and we have very good donors... charitable people."

He said donors were mainly "55-60 and older" and "don't have any ambitions, business ambitions or other ambitions... all their influence is in the past... now they do it from their heart."

Temerko says he never met Boris Johnson in Foreign Office

When asked what he hoped to gain by donating money, Mr Temerko said he was "an industrial voice" in the Conservative Party who wants to see the UK become a "more industrial country", specifically with regards to the energy sector.

"We must be not only service country, we should to be industrial country," he said.

On spending time with Boris Johnson when he was foreign secretary, Mr Temerko said he occasionally met him on the balcony in Parliament but denied every doing so in his ministerial office.

He said this was "absolutely normal" as there were "usually a lot of people" around Mr Johnson, calling him a "magnet... centre of gravity".

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