By Lord Cruddas of Shoreditch.

‘So much to enjoy during the Boris leadership period’ says Lord Cruddas.

Lord Cruddas has provided an overview of Conservative Party Financial Statement Year Ended 31 DECEMBER 2021.

The Conservative Party is not a limited company, but the accounts are regulated, it has a Board equivalent to directors and the membership are equivalent to shareholders. The first page of the accounts states:

“The Board of the Conservative and Unionist Party lays down policies for the activities of the Conservative Central Office.

“The Board is responsible for the administration of the Party and the authorisation of expenditure within agreed guidelines.

“The operations and budgets of the Conservative Central Office are therefore subject to the scrutiny of the Board with the support of the Finance and Audit Committee. The Board of the Party is responsible for preparing this Annual Report and Financial Statements.”

Being part of this Board is quite a responsibility and one would hope those sitting on it are selected with great care and consideration with due consideration made regarding what they may contribute to the membership and the Party.

The makeup of the Board should also fairly reflect the views and opinions of all aspects of the Party including:

  • The Membership.
  • The NCC.
  • The County Councillors.
  • The Constituency Associations.
  • The Conservative peers in the House of Lords.
  • The devolved governments of Wales and Scotland.
  • The MPs in House of Commons.

So why, I ask does the smallest group the MP’s have the biggest representation on the Board? There are approximately 18 members of the Board, of which seven are MPs including two devolved parliament MPs. 

The quorum is eight for any meeting so in a straight show of hands vote on policy decisions one might conclude that MPs have a disproportionate say to any other groups listed above. Surely a complete review and restructuring of the Board to represent the groups above more fairly is called for.

Statement of Income and Expenditure

Membership Fees and Donations Income

Since Boris Johnson became Leader, membership fees have stayed around £2million an increase of some 40% since the days of Theresa May’s leadership. Described previously as the “Boris Bounce”. 

Indeed, the most recently available financial statement maintains that the bounce to be of approximately £2million.

However, a matter that has troubled me is that the Conservative Party are unable or do not want to state how many members there are at any one time. Unlike other major political parties. 

So, let us try to work it out by reverse engineering the numbers through the financial statement.

The current membership fee structure is as follows:

£25 for standard members.

£5 for under 26 years.

£15 for ex-service men/women.

The media also speculates that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 young conservatives. Ex-service people must be minimal. 

Therefore:

£2million divided by £25 is 80,000 members.

£2million adjusted for say 15,000 young conservatives is 92,000. 

So, at best there are 100,000 members being generous to service people membership.

The media speculates that during the past two years it has been between 180,000 and 200,000. 

Why has nobody on the Conservative Party board questioned this? Which seems glaringly obvious to me. The numbers do not back up a 180,000 membership.  

If there were 180,000 members, then membership fees would be:

15,000 @ £5

165,000 @ £25

With £4.2million income from membership fees, double that is shown in the financial accounts. 

We must assume the financial statements are correct and therefore there are approximately 100,000 members. 

It therefore follows that the petition presented by the Conservative Post and myself, now having approximately 20,000 signatures represents at least 20% of the membership. 

The petition has not been seen outside social media. Therefore, a huge percentage of those conservative members on social media support a Boris ballot. Such a huge number one might reasonably assume that this would be reflected in the wider membership.

In fact, a You Gov poll recently reported that of the membership:

  • Boris would yield 46%
  • Truss 24%
  • Sunak 23%

Yet the Board have not felt it appropriate to have a Boris ballot. It is within their power and underpinned by the constitution. 

Perhaps it comes back to the makeup of the Board shown above. After all it was the MPs in the house of commons, the 1922 Committee and of course the media who all wanted to change our leader.

It is patently clear the membership did not.

A coup against the members not just Boris Johnson! 

MPs in the commons, represent their constituents and have persistently reported that their email in boxes were full of people who no longer supported Boris. Really.

Apparently, members were disappointed in the number of scandals surrounding him and his leadership.

But what proportion of these were genuine members? Or Labour activists?

On examination of the membership fees, the membership levels were maintained throughout 2021, the membership were not abandoning the party during this period of so-called discontent! 

These so-called scandals started from the moment Boris became Leader and he vowed to “get Brexit done”. The most memorable being that “he lied to our Queen” that was in September 2019 and clearly supposedly, the biggest lie of all. 

This continued through 2020, 2021 and to the present day. 

Has any of this been reflected in a fall in membership during that time? No, it has not, membership fees under Boris Johnson grew by forty per cent and have maintained that level at least until 31st December 2021.

The effect Boris Johnson has had on the party’s popularity and the positive financial effect he has clearly had on this business one might say that during his term of office.

             “Boris Johnson is the Unique Selling Point (USP) of the Conservative Party”

What Board, what business in their right mind would so easily discard of their distinctly successful charismatic and profitable USP so readily and easily?

Not only has Boris generated income through increased membership. Just look at the donations to the party. 

During his 2019 election year Boris generated record party donation of almost £56 million, unprecedented for the Party and far greater than the £34 million raised for Theresa May in 2017. 

Donations in 2021 were holding at £20.5 million an increase of almost 20% over the previous year. So clearly the Party donors were not recoiling from Boris. 

During the two years of Covid and our so-called scandal hit leader they still recognised that Boris really was the “unique selling point” of our Party. 

Who ever wanted to remove Boris John from office, it was not the members and the numbers bear this out.

Expenditure

The Board rightly, have continued to look at staff costs over the two years of covid. Staff numbers falling from 342 to 304 to 230 for year ending 2021. 

Staff costs fall from £18million to approx. £11million in 2021. 

In 2019 the average salary was approximately £54k, with the reduction in staffing this fell to £44k in 2020. However, despite the loss of 74 staff members in 2021 the average salary rose back up to £49k. 

It makes fiscal sense for the Board to adjust all overheads downwards where possible in the current climate. 

The conference was back in 2021 which generated net profit of itself of approx. £1million. 

Campaign expenditure topped £5 million. However, despite all of these cut backs,  the treasurer reports:

“Politically, 2021 saw our best ever result in the Senedd, strong mayoral election performances in the West Midlands, Tees Valley and a good performance in London and a by-election in Hartlepool for the first time since 1974.”

Quite an accolade, recognition from the Board of the political successes in 2021 all under the leadership of one Boris Johnson!

Surplus for the year

The surplus for the year was approximately £300k. Due to the increase in donations, profits from the conference and reductions in staffing cost and overheads.

Consolidated Balance Sheet.

The balance of the Conservative Party is still in positive territory. This goes back to 2019, Boris’ election year with record subscriptions and donations producing a record surplus of almost £14million. This converted a previously negative balance sheet into a net assets position and a surplus going forward. Sustained through to 2021.

The financial statements were signed off by the Chairman of the Board on 4th July 2022. The treasurers financial review notes that as in prior years that the financial statements have been prepared on the “going concern” basis on the understanding that the Board is confident that “sufficient funding will be generated for the Party in 2022 to meet its financial obligations without significantly eroding these reserves.”

That is great news so we may reasonably assume that the Board on 4th July 2022, looked at management accounts to date and cash flow projections to the end of the financial year and this gave financial confidence going forward.

What was happening on 4th July 2022 and around that date, there was a VONC in Boris Johnson by MPs in parliament on 6th June 2022. Boris did win but the result was not as comfortable as we would have hoped. Mrs. May got a better result and she resigned around six months later.

History should have told the Board that it was only a matter of time, whatever the result of the VONC that the MPs and the 1922 Committee were likely to get their way, force Boris to resign and change the leader quickly after the vote. 

In fact, from the last week in June 2022 to the date Boris Johnson resigned 7th July 2022 was a frantic couple of weeks in the Party as it became clear “they” wanted to see the back of him. The financial statements were signed off on 4th July 2022. They were due with the electoral commission on 7th July 2022. The prior years submitted eight days late on agreement. 

I would ask was this a case for delaying the accounts for just one week. Was the resignation and pending change of leader a “Post Balance Sheet Event”? Should this have been noted in the financial statements? Did the board consider the financial loss of Boris Johnson going forward for the rest of the year and indeed into 2023? 

Remember historically Boris was the “Golden Goose”, the “USP” of the Party since becoming leader clearly demonstrated in the balance sheet of the Conservative Party. 

How will his loss affect the number of members going forward? How disposed will the traditional big Conservative donors be to maintaining donations to the Party. 

The You Gov poll clearly shows in a three way vote almost half of the membership would vote for Boris over Truss or Sunak as leader.

Net Current Assets

The NCA of the business has been maintained from 2020 to 2021. The only significant difference is that the Board has chosen to convert approximately £5million from cash to investments representing “shares held in funds which are valued on a regular basis”.

It is interesting to analyse the bank balance and Investments of the Party over recent years:

2017 Bank £4million, Investments £1.5million

2018 Bank £2million, Investments £2.5million

2019 Bank £19million, Investments £4million

2020 Bank £12million, Investments £4million

2021 Bank £4 million Investments £10million

Again, this illustrates the effect Boris had on the finances of the Party in 2019, record Cash in bank even after funding the 2019 election to the sum of £18million.

Have the Board asked themselves where the money will come from to fund the general election in 2024? Without their “Golden Goose” and without their “USP”. 

I cannot imagine in my wildest musings that neither Mrs. Truss nor Mr. Sunak will be responsible for any kind of positive “financial bounce”! 

My greatest fear is a financial depression is coming to the financial income of the Party, unless the members are given their say on who should be leader.

The only way to do this is to offer the members a simple yes/no ballot on whether to accept Boris Johnson’s resignation. Anything else could lead to financial and political disaster, and all roads will lead back to the current board and the 1922 Committee. 


Lord Cruddas is a party donor and former Conservative Party Treasurer.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Fully resonates with me and as a Lawyer my own questions would follow along those very lines

    Christopher LAI
    Solicitor
    22/8/2022

  2. Everything that Lord Cruddas says makes so much sense. Every poll you refer to puts Boris ahead of any other MP to be the leader. When will the Conservative Party wake up? Boris is the most popular PM we have had in many a decade and is also supported by the so called ‘Red Wall’ people who lent their vote to Boris at the General Election. I think you can fairly confidently say that they won’t be lending their vote again.
    Give us the chance to vote to reject Boris’s resignation. It is the honourable thing to do. The behaviour of the few has been despicable.

  3. Is the Con. Party prepared for the shock of losing thousands of its members – the ones who supported Boris Johnson.

    Unless they reply immediately to our petition for Boris to be reinstated, their coffers will be in sad decline, like the finances of many of us when we have or have not paid our energy bills.

    We members did not vote Boris out. It was done behind our backs.

    I think we members should have a vote of no confidence in the Conservative Party and the 1922 Commiittee – now, before the Leadership Campaign is completed.

  4. Yes we need a vote of the tory members now not the chairman and his aides simple the people.
    Thankyou foe all you have done for Boris

  5. The only way Conservative party will have a future is by putting either Boris’s name on the ballot or having him in a prominent position within the Oarty

  6. What has been done to Boris Johnson is backstabbing nasty distasteful by conservative Mps notbfit to govern. I will not vote conservative unless Boris reinstated. Those responsible inall parties has shown to be the worst kind of bullying evil greedy vindictive beings who we do not want in our country and government. They forget we pay their salaries. Bring Boris back for sake of Uk

  7. Get rid of Brady and his secret committee too much power in one man’s hand …he is not elected as PM and should not have more power than the PM!
    He manipulated the coup to bring down Boris Johnson ….Brady should resign , Boris should be reinstated , power should be given back to the membership …instead of one man and his shadowy clique .

  8. jealousy of popularity is the reason for his downfall.hes been hounded by inferior so called colleagues from the start.hes never been forgiven for taking us out of the EU.J R Mogg speaks highly of Boris and he’s a very level headed individual.

  9. I agree with everything Lord Cruddace says. How can a group of bitter Remainer’s get rid of our PM just because they don’t like him. If they’re allowed to get away with this – what’s to stop them doing it again in the future? It’s the Public / Members who decide if we’re living in a democracy.

  10. Considering all these comments, Lord Cruddas would do well to order an injunction against the election – it’s quite clearly underhand, if not illegal. At least the vote-counting should be suspended until an enquiry has been carried out. There are enough enquiries investigating Boris – how about one to investigate the 1922 Committee and its cronies?

  11. Yes what a shambles all this leadership contest has been the majority of members want Boris back and what a time to do it! You 62 MPs should be named so everyone knows who they are. We have a cost of living crisis and this is all they are worried about. Listened to my MP this morning on the radio and he wouldnt tell who he is backing! Must be looking for another job!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here