Possible Plymouth Brethren Christian Church Link to Young Britons’ Foundation Donation

In 2011, a site called Liberal Burblings drew attention to two donations to the Young Britons’ Foundation from a private company:

Donations records were submitted to the [Electoral] Commission on 30th March 2011 for £45,000 and £9,999 from Healthgear Contracts, an unincorporated association of 90 College Street, Bedford, partner: one Rodney Dummer.

The donations were accepted a few days before the 2010 General Election (as recorded on the Electoral Commission website), and the author suggests that they were related to payment for a YBF pamphlet and newspaper advert urging readers to avoid the prospect of a hung Parliament by voting Conservative. The total campaign cost was just under £135,000.

The subject has now been revisited by Mr Ceebs, who notes that a certain Rod Dummer also features on a document relating to the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC, also known as the Exclusive Brethren). Is this the same person? It’s an unusual name, and the Brethren’s involvement would fit a pattern of political campaigning on behalf of the Conservative Party going back several years. Mr Ceebs draws attention to a Times article from March 2015:

Since 2009, Brethren members have been strongly encouraged to distribute political leaflets on behalf of mainly Tory MPs to thousands of homes across their constituencies.

“When David Cameron was coming to power, the Brethren were suddenly told to leaflet as many areas as possible,” said one ex-member, who left in 2012. “They were told from the very top. There was a letter read out after one of the local meetings that we must help the Conservatives.”

Prior to this, as Mr Ceebs also notes, the Brethren produced political leaflets during the 2005 election in New Zealand – I discussed this here. And a year before that, a British Brethren member made a large donation to pay for adverts in the USA to help re-elect George W. Bush.

Excursus

Liberal Burblings also notes that invoices for the 2010 leaflets were made out not to the YBF, but to Media Intelligence Partners:

The chief executive officer of Media Intelligence Partners is Nick Wood, who was Press Secretary and Media Director for Conservative Party leaders William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith.

Christian May, is an Account Executive at Media Intelligence Partners. Their website says he “used to be Director of Operations for the Young Britons’ Foundation and served the Conservative Party as Deputy National Chairman for Conservative Future”.

In 2009, the Telegraph reported that MIP had received £66,000 in payments charged to the office expenses of Conservative MPs. Christian May appeared on this blog a month ago, when I noticed his involvement in a “social media campaign” against Ben Howlett MP.

The YBF is currently embroiled in a bullying scandal, as I discussed here.

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