Tories and Vote Leave are primary recipients of donations from climate science deniers

Could UK politics learn something about strengthening the 'quiet centre' from Australia's compulsorary voting system?

Could UK politics learn something about strengthening the 'quiet centre' from Australia's compulsorary voting system? Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Conservative Party and Vote Leave have accepted far more donations from supporters of climate science denial than any other campaign, research has found.

Over £5 million in donations from supporters of a prominent climate science campaign group has gone to Conservative MPs or the party HQ.

Supporters of the same group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) have donated £32,000 each to Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, each the highest individual recipients of funds from this source.

Meanwhile, Vote Leave has received £300,000 in registered donations from GWPF-linked individuals.

Analysis from campaigning media organisation DeSmog found that 94% of all 181 donations from these supporters went to the Conservatives.

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The political donations come from individuals such as Michael Hintze, a hedge fund manager who funds GWPF's work, and the shipping company directed by Terence Mordaunt, who is also GWPF's director. Another donor is Neil Record, chair of GWPF's campaigning arm.

Founded by former Conservative minister Nigel Lawson, GWPF states on its website that it is an "an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity which, while open-minded on the contested science of global warming, is deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated."

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DeSmog considers GWPF a climate science denying organisation, pointing out that its website prominently features a "short term temperature graph that suggests the world is not warming".

GWPF's homepage at time of publication featured articles highlighting global problems with plastic waste recycling, "serious errors" in the latest International Panel on Climate Change oceans report, and GWPF's own assessment that ocean temperatures are "uneven and uncertain".

The Liberal Democrats received one donation from these sources of £2,000 in 2011, and Labour have accepted none.

Other Conservative MPs who have accepted funds from these donors included Jeremy Hunt, who received £25,000 from Mordaunt's company in 2019; and former international trade secretary Liam Fox, and former Brexit minister David Davis.

Both Fox and Davis received £20,439 and £7,000 respectively from Hintze and his hedge fund.

The Conservative Party and the politicians named have been approached for comment.

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