THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Are political donations ever made for purely altruistic reasons?

F1 chief Bernie Eccleston’s donation to Labour has landed the Government in hot water

F1 chief Bernie Eccleston’s donation to Labour has landed the

Government in hot water

Francis Halewood

Former director of communications for the Conservative Party

’It stretches the bounds of incredulity to say that they are. The

Conservatives always got very worried when journalists started to dig

into funding. I just don’t believe that any businessman gives large sums

of money to any political party without looking for a favour. I don’t

necessarily say that’s a bad thing.’

Richard Currie The Policy Partnership

’Many political donations, especially those from the paid up members of

political parties, will be purely altrustic. From the non members who

donate, there will probably be broadly two different approaches

Firstly, one of broad based sympathy with the views of the political

party in question.

Secondly, the hope that the donation might be made in the form of a

favour and that one favour deserves another.’

Mike Lee

Westminster Strategy

’Donations are made as a way of expressing support for the policies and

principles of the party concerned. The suggestion that Bernie

Ecclestone’s donation to Labour influenced the decision on Formula One

is in my view absolute nonsense. It is the merits of the case that count

in this situation, not the size of the cheque. The suggestion that a

donation made brings influence is in my experience simply not true’

Tony Wright

Labour MP for Cannock Chase

’Thousands of people give donations for purely altruistic reasons all

the time because they believe in the policies and want to support them.

Is there a danger of rich people making donations for other than purely

altruistic reasons? Yes of course there is, which is why you need tight

rules. Company donations are more difficult. They cannot be seen as in

any way altruistic.’

Charles Lewington

Former director of communications for the Conservative Party

’The little old lady who gives pounds 5 to the Conservative Party in the

hope of keeping the socialists out believes she is acting for the common

good. A large corporation may give money to all three major parties in

order to further its business interests - and therefore those of its


To coin a phrase, one man’s act of altruism is another man’s bribe.’

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