Skip to Content


How the Tories turned generous donors into sinister lobbyists

21 October 2011

4:53 PM

21 October 2011

4:53 PM

The Fox-Werritty story took an interesting turn this week with the news that
Conservative Party treasurer Howard Leigh had been soliciting funds from wealthy Jewish donors. The Jewish Chronicle had the story first. It was then “revealed” by the Guardian a day later, although, to be fair, they did put some serious meat on the bones.

The coverage of this story has been fascinating. It has been unedifying to watch the government scrabbling to blame sinister “lobbyists” for its predicament. Even now, the party is denying that it actively solicited cash from
the three Jewish donors to Fox’s pet projects. The individuals involved, Poju Zabludowicz, Mick Davis and Michael Lewis are said to be furious at the suggestion that they sought out Adam
Werritty’s organisations to fund. Tory fundraisers may regret this in future.

This story is drifting into dangerous territory. There is a suggestion in some of the coverage that the fact that these funders are “pro-Israel” is somehow sinister in itself. What
exactly is wrong with being pro-Israel? Aren’t we all pro-Israel? Even the PLO is pro-Israel. 

It is absurd to suggest that Zabludowicz, Davis and Lewis were attempting to bolster Fox’s pro-Israel stance, which was never in question. They gave money to Werritty because Fox and Leigh
asked them to.

This is a story about donors — by spinning it as a story about lobbying, the Tories have lost huge credibility within the “pro-Israel” Jewish community and they may lose much more
than that.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments


The Spectator Comment Policy

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.