As you’ll see from my campaigns page, I have been fighting for the causes I believe in for years and that has often included giving money. I believe it's important to have skin in the game if you can afford to.
I have donated money to various education charities to support schools in both the state and private sectors.
I also funded the research and production of my three detailed reports into aspects of the education sector covering academies and universities.
In the past I have provided funding to help a Labour MP who I have worked with on several campaigns. In terms of my longstanding euroscepticism, I have donated to various groups over the last 20 years including Business for Sterling in the late 1990s and Global Britain on various occasions. I once gave money to the UK Independence Party to help with the 2014 European elections, as they were clearly the most effective campaigners for a referendum on our EU membership.
My main political donations have been to the Conservative Party, to whom I have given money on many occasions over the last 20 years or so. I had been a member of the Conservatives for much of my adult life and, until April 2019, were the only party I had ever been a member of…
However, frustrated at the political class’s betrayal of the Brexit vote, I decided to resign my membership of the Conservative Party in order to become Chairman of The Brexit Party. Six weeks later, I was elected as an MEP for the Brexit Party and intend to stand for the Brexit Party in any future General Election.
Politics is a tough business
The country needs more successful people from the world of business and beyond to become involved in politics so we can improve the way Britain is run.
There are many reasons not to put your head above the parapet. Of course, politics involves some rough and tumble day to day. But it goes beyond that now. Aside from the grief I get on social media, I have experienced other disincentives.
After over 25 years of dutifully paying my taxes without a question being asked by HMRC, in January 2016 I was subjected to an aggressive inquiry from them, just as the referendum campaign was about to get into full swing.
It was the first time anything like this had ever happened to me and I couldn’t help but wonder if by becoming one of the first business people publicly and openly to support Brexit I had invited this extreme scrutiny on myself. Twice I applied to see my HMRC files, which I was entitled to view under the rules of the Data Protection Act. Twice HMRC refused, claiming exemptions applied.
Months had gone by without me hearing from them. If they had nothing to hide, then why would they not let me see my files?
Finally, after 23 months, HMRC finished their inquiry. After all that, they discovered that in fact I’d overpaid and was due a refund!
Old-style politics can be a dirty game, even in a great democracy like ours.