Vitol chief makes new donation to pro-UK group

A CONTROVERSIAL oil trader has made fresh donations worth tens of thousands of pounds to campaign against independence after previously bankrolling the official No group with a £500,000 donation.

Ian Taylor gave a five-figure sum to the Let's Say Together campaign. Picture: Getty
Ian Taylor gave a five-figure sum to the Let's Say Together campaign. Picture: Getty

Ian Taylor, president and chief executive of Vitol, gave £30,000 to the Let’s Stay Together campaign, which produced a film starring Doctor Who and Torchwood star John Barrowman, former EastEnders actor Ross Kemp, comic Eddie Izzard, actor Tony Robinson and soap actress Michelle Collins.

Mr Taylor previously faced questions about Vitol, following allegations about deals in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, which are disputed by the firm.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

The businessman also handed £10,000 to WFS2014 Ltd - another group campaigning for a No vote, according to figures about donations made between 27 June and 24 July 2014.

A total of £216,278 was made in donations to registered campaigners in the independence referendum during that period.

The bulk of the cash went to groups campaigning for a No vote, with just £65,000 of the £216,278 going to pro-independence organisations.

Mr Taylor previously made a £500,000 donation to the Better Together campaign.

Pro-Union groups receive more than double Yes donations

Pro-union campaigners received more than double the donations given to the Yes camp last month, the Electoral Commission has reported.

Four unionist campaign groups received donations of £151,248 between June 27 and July 24, compared with two nationalist groups which received £65,000, the second pre-poll donations and loans report for the Scottish independence referendum reveals.

Unionists have received a total of £2,657,723 since December 18 compared with £1,524,120 for the nationalists, with both sides boosted by seven figure donations by Harry Potter author JK Rowling and Euromillions winners Chris and Colin Weir respectively in the months to June 27.

The biggest donation last month was £74,747 by JCB digger tycoon and Conservative donor Mark Bamford to the Scottish Research Society, a scientific and literary society campaigning for a No vote. The society was founded in May, and is run by marketing directors Hamish Alldridge and Elaine MacKenzie Grossart.

Official independence campaign Yes Scotland received £40,000 from James H Williamson, plus £10,000 from property developer Alexander W Adam.

Jim Walker, founder of research consultancy Asianomics, donated £10,000 to Wealthy Nation, a right-of-centre pro-independence group founded by historian Michael Fry.

Other notable donors include former Ferranti technologies boss Terry Scuoler, who gave £10,000 to Better Together, and author CJ Sansom who donated £9,000 to the Let’s Stay Together campaign which launched with a celebrity video last month.