General

  By G.A.Ponsonby
 
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been challenged to return money paid to the Conservative party by the Chief Executive of a company which admitted paying a Serbian war criminal one million dollars.
 
In an exchange during Prime Minister’s Questions, SNP MP Angus Robertson listed the crimes committed by Arkan who received the money from Swiss based company Vitol.

Vitol’s Chief Executive Ian Taylor has caused controversy after paying over half a million pounds to the Conservative party and a further half million to the pro-Union campaign Better Together.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Robertson urged the Tory PM to return the money to Mr Taylor who he revealed had also dined with Mr Cameron in the Prime Minister’s official residence in Downing Street.

“Mr Taylor’s company Vitol has admitted dealings with the notorious Serbian war criminal Arkan who was indicted for … ‘wilfully causing great suffering, cruel treatment, murder, wilful killing, rape, and other inhuman acts’.

“Will the Prime Minister stop hosting Mr Taylor at Downing Street and give the money back.”

The question was dismissed by Mr Cameron who called it a totally regrettable “political card”.

The Prime Minister hosted Mr Taylor at a private dinner in Downing Street on 2 November 2011, which was described as a “social dinner for strong and long term supporters of the party, with whom the PM has a strong relationship”.
 
Commenting after raising the issue in the House of Commons, SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP said:
 
“The UK government is absolutely right to make the combating of sexual violence in conflict its key priority whilst it chairs the G8 – though it’s beyond hypocritical to do so while accepting donations from Mr Ian Taylor, the president and chief executive of Vitol, which gave Arkan $1 million.
 
“The Prime Minister has received donations and provided hospitality at Number 10 for Mr Taylor, after Vitol who was also heavily fined in 2007 by a New York court after admitting making payments to the national oil company in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq which were outside the UN’s oil for food programme.  Vitol is also in talks with HMRC about its tax avoidance practices.
 
“David Cameron completely ignored the question – laying bare that he has no defence.  Labour MP John Mann, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, described Mr Taylor’s donations to the Tories as ‘dirty money’, and has called on the Tories to hand this money back.
 
“Ian Taylor is also the principal funder of the anti-independence No campaign, giving half-a-million pounds after meeting the No campaign chair Alistair Darling.  Both the Tories and No should give the money back.”

The BBC reported that Mr Taylor has donated £555,100 to the Tory Party since June 2006.  Mr Taylor is also the principal funder of the anti-independence No campaign, having donated £500,000 following a meeting with the No campaign chair Alistair Darling.

Controversy has surrounded the donation to Better Together after business dealings carried out by his company Vitol emerged.  The half million pound donation has caused rifts within the Labour party with former First Minister Henry McLeish questioning whether Labour should have endorsed the donation.

The donations from Mr Taylor to the Conservative party have been denounced as “dirty money” by Labour MP John Mann, who has also called on the Conservatives to return the cash.

However Mr Darling has rejected calls for the No campaign to return the money saying he was “pleased” to have Mr Taylor’s support.  Also voicing her support for the Tory backer was Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont who pointed out that Mr Taylor has also invested money in Harris Tweed.

Johann Lamont defends the donation to Better Together

There has also been accusations that the Better Together campaign may have unwittingly benefitted from the proceeds of tax avoidance after it emerged Mr Taylor’s company used a controversial mechanism in order to avoid paying National Insurance and employee income tax to the Inland revenue.  The company is currently negotiating with HMRC in order to reach a settlement.

Comments  

 
#
MAcandroid
2013-04-24 23:49

Dirty Tories and dirty Darling – who’d have thought ?
 
 
#
Massan_Gow
2013-04-25 00:57

If it is wrong to play a ‘political card’ in the House of Commons when & where is it right?

Avoidance tactics by the PM.
 
 
#
ButeHouse
2013-04-25 01:09

This story will hang like a mill stone round the neck of unionists until 10pm on September 18th 2014.

Their only hope of ditching it will be to return the money which will leave them with a huge hole in their funds and the smell of wrong doing till Sept 18th next year.

Major blunder from start to finish.

VOTE YES NEXT YEAR
 
 
#
Angus
2013-04-25 07:41

I remember the SNP turned down a huge donation from Mohamed Al Fayed, not sure what the reasons were, but they were not going to taint themselves.
 
 
#
UpSpake
2013-04-25 08:03

Glad to hear from Johann that it was all the SNP’s fault. How pathetic is this woman. Such a great asset to the Yes campaign. Such great intellects as this surely must energise the No campaign to even further shots to the foot.
I’m not convinced I can take much more of this drivel.
 
 
#
jdman
2013-04-25 08:19

Sorry what was that again? “a totally regrettable political card”?

what the hell does that mean?
I sincerely hope Angus Robertson did not accept THAT as an answer? how dare he obfuscate with such a palpably evasive answer such as that, I would have demanded he be held in contempt of parliament.
 
 
#
Breeks
2013-04-25 09:14

Bought and sold for Taylor’s gold.

After 300 years, it seems Unionism is still up for sale if the price is right with no awkward questions asked.

Ah yes, about those awkward questions….
 
 
#
Indy_Scot
2013-04-25 09:56

So according to David Cameron, anytime you are asked a legitimate uncomfortable political question, you can simply avoid answering it by stating it is wrong to use a “political card”.

I cannot believe he can get away with spouting this utter tripe. If that answer alone is not reason enough for Scotland to vote Yes in next years referendum to get rid of the Tories, I don’t know what is.
 
 
#
proudscot
2013-04-25 10:34

Watching PMQs on Wednesday, I was struck by the unusual level of comparative silence during Angus Robertson’s question. Usually when an SNP MP rises to his/her feet to speak, the noise level from all sides, Tories, Labour and Lib Dems, rises to such a level as to almost drown out the said MP. As George Foulkes would put it, “They’re doing it deliberately!”

However, on this occasion Angus Robertson’s quite detailed question was heard without him being shouted down, which made David Cameron’s sour non-reply sound exactly what it was – petty and evasive.
 
 
#
mealer
2013-04-25 10:56

We must remember that,as far as we know,Arkan the war criminal didnt personally donate to the Tories/Better Together.It was Ian Taylor.And while there are certainly financial links between Ian Taylor and Arkan,there is,as yet,no evidence that would suggest a friendship between them.We know that Mr Taylor has dined with both Mr Darling and Mr Cameron.But there is no suggestion he ever dined with Arkan.Nor that he he bought him dinner.It should be noted that there are no photos of Arkan wearing a Harris Tweed sports jacket.Nor of him mistreating a Scottish wildcat.
 
 
#
Lucas
2013-04-25 11:20

You can’t really blame the Tories for being utterly immoral – it’s in their DNA. Tories go after dirty money like foxes go after chickens. Liberal Democrats cannot differentiate between right and wrong – that is the reason for their untrustworthine  ss. But deep down, we still all expect more from people with a Labour background, and we feel it just that bit more keenly when they let us down again.
 
 
#
velofello
2013-04-25 11:22

Just because Cameron described Angus Robertson’s question as “playing a political card” doesn’t mean that he played a political card. Angus Robertson was revealing the humbug of the Tory position.
Words vs Action.
Speak lofty principles vs Accept dirty money.
 
 
#
Viking Girl
2013-04-25 11:38

I would like to ask an awkward question.
Why did Jackie Bailey describe the ‘No’ campaign’s putative giving back of the money to Taylor as ‘disinvesting?’ (BBC 1 Politics Sunday)
She was comparing Taylor’s investments in Harris Tweed, which is a commercial matter, to his donation to Better Together, as if that was the same kind of transaction. Mind you, for a wealthy and infuential man, he probably sees donations to a political organisation like Better Together as an investment for the future. It’s a good example of how power is controlled in the dysfunctional UK
 
 
#
mealer
2013-04-25 20:29

I think YES should offer to give NO 500k if theyll send back the donation to Taylor.It brings shame on our country.
 

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