Who bankrolled the education select committee members?
Two donations from key figures linked to schools have been registered by one of the new MPs on the education select committee.
Lucy Allan, the new Conservative MP for Telford, registered a donation of £3,000 from David Ross, who is the sponsor of the David Ross Education Trust (DRET). She also registered a £5,000 donation from the foundation’s secretary, Nick Teagle.
Both Mr Ross and Mr Teagle gave the money as individuals and it was received by Ms Allan’s local party or indirectly by the Conservative Central Office. The donations were registered on June 4.
DRET runs primary and secondary academies across the East Midlands, the east of England and Yorkshire and Humberside. A spokesperson said it would not comment on Schools Week’s request for more information about why the donations were made.
Ms Allan told Schools Week: “All candidates for election rely on donations. All donations were declared during the course of the general election campaign in accordance with the requirements of the electoral commission.
“All donations were made to Telford Conservatives by Conservative party supporters. As party supporters these donors wanted to see a Conservative majority government and that was the purpose of their donation. The election campaign ended on May 7; there have been no further donations. No donations have been registered in June 2015.”
Other new arrivals have listed substantial donations. Conservative MP for Chippenham Michelle Donelan registered 20 donations totalling £ 64,673 from individuals and companies received by her local or central party organisation.
William Pitman, a fund manager for St James’s Place Wealth Management, donated as an individual. He told Schools Week that his donation was £200 rather than the £2,000 recorded in the register. He added: “It had no connection to any issue, instead was just a gesture of support for her bid to become an MP.”
Ms Donelan also received donations of £30,000 registered as “any other support” from Berkeley Burke Holdings Ltd. The donations were listed on June 5.
Ms Donelan’s office said that no donations were accepted from organisations or individuals related to the education world.
Other notable donors to committee members include the philanthropist and president of the Joint Israel Appeal, He gave £2,500 to Labour MP for Dudley North Ian Austin on March 5 and the money was received either by his local party or indirectly by the party’s headquarters.
Mr Austin registered a second donation from Sir Trevor of £5,000 on March 26 – listed in the register as “any other support” – other than through the central or local party organisation. A spokesman for Mr Austin said: “Trevor Chinn is a friend of Ian’s who’s supported his campaign.”
Labour MP Ian Mearns registered donations totalling £8,000 from three trade unions – the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), the RMT North East and the north-east region of the Communication Workers Union. All were given to the local or central party organisation.
An interest in a Michaela Community School – a free school in Brent – was registered by Conservative MP for Fareham Suella Fernandes. She is a co-founder and chairman of the governors at the school.