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Tory leader under pressure

Davidson facing demands over ‘dark money’ funding

Ruth Davidson at women's conf

Dark days: Ruth Davidson is facing questions over funding (pic by Terry Murden)


Ruth Davidson is coming under further pressure to explain whether the Scottish Conservatives received so-called “dark money” to help bankroll candidates in last year’s UK general election.

SNP MP Pete Wishart is demanding the Tory leader clarifies her position with regard to donations from the Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT) which is being monitored by the Electoral Commission.

The Ferret website has suggested that the trust would not be a permissible donor – meaning donations could be unlawful.

Mr Wishart wants Ms Davidson to explain if the trust provided financial support to the general election campaigns of Scottish Tory MPs John Lamont, David Duguid, and Douglas Ross – and whether their election expense returns were correctly completed.

The SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire has called on the Electoral Commission to conduct a full investigation into SUAT and its links to the Scottish Tories, and said that sanctions including the forfeiture of donations and fines should be imposed if the Commission finds wrongdoing.

He said: “Serious questions are now piling up at Ruth Davidson’s door.”

He said she “must come clean, and tell the public if donations from the Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT) were funnelled into the election campaigns of Tory MPs John Lamont, David Duguid and Douglas Ross.

“The Scottish Tories must also reveal if the election expense returns of John Lamont, David Duguid and Douglas Ross were correctly completed.”

A Scottish Conservative party spokesman said: “Since 2001 the Conservative party has declared all donations from the trust in the correct way for permissible donations in accordance with the electoral commission.

“As always, we continue to work closely with the electoral commission on all these matters.”

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