Skip to main content

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us

Rouble trouble doesn’t faze Ben Elliott

Former Today editor Sarah Sands still wants to go into business with the Tory party's co-chair

Ben Elliot. Photo: David M Benett/Getty

Ben Elliot may be facing calls from Tory MPs to quit as their party’s co-chair over the roubles he’s been trousering from dodgy Russian oligarchs, but that has not put the former Today editor Sarah Sands off going into business with him.

Sands, who presided first over the London Evening Standard, when it championed Boris Johnson for mayor, and, later Radio 4’s Today, when it was widely derided for its pro-Brexit bias, is to go into partnership with the PM’s Old Etonian mate and the nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall in an outfit called Braemar Events.

Sands has also been appointed to the board of a PR firm called Hawthorn that Elliot co-founded apparently with the intention of expanding the Braemar Summit – an event dubbed “McDavos” in a piece Rachel Johnson wrote for the Daily Mail – which is held each September in the Cairngorms. Sands and Hawthorn CEO John Evans set up and part-funded it. Its website shows the likes of Zac Goldsmith, Kwasi Kwarteng and Today’s Mishal Husain holding forth at last year’s event.

Braemar Events – incorporated as a company earlier this month – is 20% owned by Elliot, with Sands and Evans taking 40% each. Hawthorn itself has done rather well of late – almost doubling its retained earnings between March 2020 and March 2021, with £1,078,612 in shareholder funds reported in its latest accounts.

There are no up-to-date figures, meanwhile, for Elliot’s controversial lifestyle business Quintessentially (UK) – so beloved by the oligarchs – with its 2020 financial statements long overdue. On Elliot’s watch at Tory HQ, £2m worth of donations were gleefully accepted from donors linked to Putin.

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us

See inside the Eton's mess edition

Local residents make Molotov cocktails, Uzhhorod, Zakarpattia Region, western Ukraine (Photo: Serhii Hudak/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Message in a bottle: a history of the Molotov cocktail

As Ukraine's residents follow the call of their government and make Molotov cocktails, where did this crude weapon of war come from?

Rupert Murdoch. Photo: PA

Age has not made Rupert any less ruthless

After getting the green light to merge the Times and Sunday Times, Murdoch has virtually sacked all of their directors, including his daughter