SNP's Ian Blackford under fire over donation from Tory donor

The SNP's new Westminster leader received cash from a Conservative donor before June's General Election.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford. Picture: PA
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford. Picture: PA

Ian Blackford received a £3,000 contribution to his re-election campaign from multimillionaire David Craigen, head of the London headge fund Lansdowne Partners.

Mr Blackford also took a £3,000 donation from Mr Craigen in 2015.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

At the time, the SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said he had no knowledge that the hedge fund manager was ‘a Tory.’

The contribution came to light in the new MPs’ register of interests.

MPs are required to register any interest which might influence their actions within a month of the start of a new Parliament.

It also showed that Scotland Secretary David Mundell received a cheque for £3,000 as a campaign donation from oil company Vitol.

Mr Blackford came under fire from opponents who accused him of hypocrisy for taking money from Conservative donors while making comments attacking the Tories’ ‘Dickensian policies.’

Scottish Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley told The Times: “It is disappointing but no surprise to seeIan Blackford taking large donations from a Tory hedge fund manager.

“Hedge fund managers can donate to SNP politicians safe in the knowledge that they will continue to talk left in Westminster and govern right in Holyrood - voting against Labour’s progressive proposals to increase the top rate of income tax to 50p and give our NHS workers a pay rise.”

A spokesman for Ian Blackford said: “This donation will help the SNP stand up for Scotland at Wesminster - opposing the Tory government’s callous austerity cuts and challenging their damaging approach to Brexit.”

David Craigen is a partner in Lansdowne Partners, which handles £14 billion-worth of assets.

He donated £50,000 to the Tories in 2007 and a further £8,000 in 2008.