More confusion over UCUNF campaign finances…

19 01 2010

High fives Unrepentant Unionist, Dave & Anon!! Great spot. Check out the comments section to this post – they’re really on the money.

The trio note this extract from Peter McCann’s facebook group.

“A Tory funded campaign in the European Election returns Jim Nicholson in second place in the count. Nicholson takes the Conservative Whip in the European Parliament. The DUP are well beaten into third place.

The Conservative and Unionist Pact continues for the Westminster Election, again it is funded by the Tory Party.”

Just so. This would directly conflict with the position set out by UUP Treasurer Mark Cosgrove to this blog in August last year. At the time, Mark stated to me:

“We have not asked the Conservative Party, nor is there a mechanism for the Ulster Unionist Party to receive a single, solitary penny from the Conservative Party, so any inference that we are doing this for financial reasons is entirely wrong.”

This is problematical isn’t it? Peter has alleged something which has always been denied, and which the UUP Party Treasurer has denied explicitly to me here. (BTW – Mark’s openness in dealing with issues raised here did him & the UUP tremendous credit in my eyes.)

This is Dave’s assessment from the comments section:

Bad luck Peter! The comments are gonna kill his chances of being selected!

All right, let’s wait and see. But how can this apparent conflict get resolved? What will happen next? I really don’t think we should wait around to find out.

PS.Well here’s the first move. As of c.9.30pm this evening, Peter’s info page has been rewritten. Here is the new and approved version!

A campaign in the European Election returns Jim Nicholson in second place in the count. Nicholson takes the Conservative Whip in the European Parliament. The DUP are well beaten into third place.

The Conservative and Unionist Pact continues for the Westminster Election.

So did the Tories didn’t fund the campaign or not? If nothing else, this correction confirms that Peter has certainly ruffled a few feathers. I see Jeff Peel has also ‘highlighted some key sections in bold’ over here.

UPDATE… UPDATE…

Great sleuthing from O’Neill, who notes in the comments section that the Tories did indeed contribute £60k to the Nicholson campaign. Does that contribution fall within expenditure by the Joint Committee, or is Peter McCann actually correct in saying that the Tories are funding these campaigns?

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24 responses

19 01 2010
Ivor

What a shocker!

And I think Peter’s selection/non-selection depends on other issues than his comments. For instance, Reg and David, perhaps having a say?

19 01 2010
Inthemidst

This UCUNF stuff is so tory – messy and sleazy – please UUP just ditch the tories, get rid

19 01 2010
Ivor

Saucer of milk?? how is it ‘messy and sleazy’?

19 01 2010
oneill

“We have not asked the Conservative Party, nor is there a mechanism for the Ulster Unionist Party to receive a single, solitary penny from the Conservative Party, so any inference that we are doing this for financial reasons is entirely wrong”

According to the recent released expenses date from the Election Commission, it’s recorded that the Conservatives paid 60k towards the overall 190k cost of Nicholson’s campaign. So isn’t Peter at least partially right in that the Conservatives funded partly the campaign?

Details here:

http://tinyurl.com/y8uwt5l

20 01 2010
bobballs

thanks for the link O’Neill. The funding issue is really a bit delicate and for a candidate not to get it fully right causes unneccesary problems.

I suspect Peter was being a little unkind by not crediting the UUP for contributing financially to their own Euro campaign. What do you reckon – hardly lends itself to demonstrating how tight this new pact is? It looks disharmonious, right?

IMHO – this is more a problem for UCUNF media managers at the moment. The Nesbitt non-candidate story and this finance issue draw attention away from the DUP’s difficulties. They need to sort both these stories out pretty damn quick!

19 01 2010
mrman

no tory money goes to uup, the treasurer speaks the truth.

everything happens through the joint body, safe to say a lot more of its money came from tory party than the (almost)bankrupt uup…

20 01 2010
bobballs

hi mrman – firstly, on the UUP treasurer. I don;t doubt his probity etc, i think this is largely to do with perceptions. it is a difficult one to make clear for the average punter.

A UUP member elected to several legislatures over four decades runs again for office and has his campaign costs largely paid for by the Tory Party. I find it difficult to understand how the Tories can relieve the UUP of £60k of campaign costs and yet this is not to be considerable a financial benefit to the UUP.

you see what i mean? yes, i understand the joint committee distinction, but its really difficult to persuade people that the UUP is financially independent of the Tories when the Tory contribution to Nicholson’s campaign is £60k and the UUP contribution is £35k.

And more so when a Tory candidate implies on facebook that only the tories funded the UCUNF Euro campaign.

On McCann – O’Neill’s link shows that he really only provided half the story on his original facebook page. The Euro campaign was clearly funded jointly – if not equally – by the Tories and the UUP.

19 01 2010
elvis parker

Bobballs Peter may or may not be correct in his suggestions but your headline contains an interesting Freudian slip ‘Tories fund UUP elections’ The election in question was the European elections so it wasnt a ‘UUP election’ was it? It was a ‘Conservative and Unionist’ election.
We really must get our terms right! Jim Nicholson holds important positions e.g. on Agric Ctte courtesy of the Conservatives.
Likewise at the General there will be ‘Conservative and Unionist’ candidate who hopefully will become key members of a Conservative Parliamentary Party

20 01 2010
bobballs

elvis – of course, you’re right. i’ve changed that headline! (shameful actually … i used to be a sub editor.)

But that doesn;t change the thrust of the post. I think Peter’s facebook page plunges the finance issue into (unnecessary) confusion.

Cosgrove is saying that the Tories have not been asked for any money. Fair enough. But McCann states that the UCUNF campaigns are Tory funded and pointedly omits mention of UUP funding. IMHO – McCann is suggesting financial dependency and undermining the position of the UUP Treasurer. This is diplomacy crime more than anything else.

19 01 2010
mrman

bobballs – re update update and as elvis pointed out

the euros WERE NOT a UUP campaign!

they were a C&U campaign, with CU branding, and both C&U money

20 01 2010
bobballs

understood mrman – see above!

19 01 2010
Dave

Parker, you prat. Jim Nicholson lost his position as Quaestor courtsey of the Conservatives, he doesn’t owe them anything, they owe him quite a lot. He took one for the team in a serious way in following them out of the EPP.

19 01 2010
Unrepentent Unionist

Bob

This really shows the Tories for who they are!

BTW anyone think the Tories had a part to play in the recent new headlines? A first for N.I., yet mirror image of what goes on in GB!

19 01 2010
Unrepentent Unionist

You notice who Peter is a fan of on Facebook?

Martin McGuinness!

See his pages!

20 01 2010
John K Lund

The truth lies in the public domain. The Electoral Commission state that The Consevative contribution was £63002.87 and the UUP was £34860 and The Electoral Office’s Candidate’s form shows Conservatives £64200.87 and UUP ££34860( David Campbell told me £50000 came from the UUP, why I do not know.So if we take the official figures it is a total of £124452.87 from the Conservatives and £72499.26 from the UUP if however Campbell is right the UUP contribution was £22499.26 less. Which makes 63.2% ex the Conservatives and 36.8% from the UUP or if Campbell is right 71.3% and 28.66% accordingly.Anyone seeking further clarification please contact me.johnklund@btinternet.com

20 01 2010
bobballs

many thanks for this john – very useful detail.

20 01 2010
And the winner is....

Donations were made to the campaign by Northern Irish supporters of the partnership, some of those donations were lodged through the Conservative party as the donations cannot be made directly to the UCUNF.

This means that the amounts ‘reported’ as coming from the Conservative party did not necessarily come from CCHQ or from Conservatives NI.

The UUP have not (as a party) received financial benefit from the electoral pact with the Conservative party.

The electoral pact is (intended to be) as beneficial to the Conservative party as it is (intended to be) to the UUP. Hence both should be contributing to the funding of UCUNF campaigns – whichis exactly what happened at the european elections

20 01 2010
Anon

If I may paraphrase.

Previous assurances that the UUP werent financially benefitiing from the Tory link up were clear and simply understood. Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple, and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the epithet of truth, inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information the UUP communicated and the facts, insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated, is such as to cause epistemological problems, of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.

…..they lied!

20 01 2010
Unrepentent Unionist

Given the detail posted by the Winner is… about donations being made via the Conservatives, rather than the UUP one would see this as a form of electoral fraud!?

Donations were made via the Tories rather than UUs to avoid something, why not just put them all through the UUP?

Maybe because there are limits?

Jim Nicholson therefore received better treatment than any other candidate?

20 01 2010
John K Lund

There was a typographical error in my posting. My Dyslexia apologies, The figures are Conservatives £60250(party) and £63002.87(candidate) UUP £34860(party) and 37639.26 (party). This was a normal political activity when two parties combine to fight an election i.e. Churchill (Conservative with the United Liberals in 1950 and 1951) which I witnessed as a schoolboy and used as my suggestion for this accommodation. The money was given to the Conservative Party locally by two donors who most certainly had no affiliation to the UUP. £1200 also came in from Conservative Party Central Office. All contributions were well within the legal limits and properly submitted to the relevant authorities.Further more all monies raised from both parties came from voluntary contributions.Anyone can find this out it is all in the public domain.

20 01 2010
And the winner is....

Unrepentant Unionist

My point was that donations were made by supporters of the UCUNF electroal partnership, not by CCHQ. How this equates to either the Tories funding the election or electoral fraud I am not sure.

20 01 2010
John K Lund

The Electoral Authories insist upon this method of reporting how funds are spent. Are you saying Unrepentant Unionist that this in your opinion is illegal? You mention electoral fraud I suggest you put up or shut up. Surely if you have any doubts you should make your concerns known to the relevant authorities. Incidentally what ate you unrepentant about?

22 01 2010
Inthemidst

Well, punters in Strangford UUP Association are cross because whoever they select as a candidate must rauise £30k to fund their campaign for Westminster … despite the supposed new culture in the UUP of the party centrally paying the candidates costs from now on to make electoral politics accessible to people of all levels of income!

Something about the UUP having massive debt from euro election and not being able to afford to fund candidates despite charging associations more!

23 01 2010
John K Lund

That is because they have their eyes on the proceeds of your recent property sale.

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