Tony Lit – Labour donor scandal

 Lit and Blair

Conservative candidate Tony Lit is in a great deal of trouble. It appears, according to the Telegraph and Labour campaign organiser Tom Watson, that just one week before agreeing to be David Cameron’s candidate, he attended a Labour party fundraiser (photo above) where his company, Sunrise Radio made a £4,800 donation.

His excuse, we can assume, is that there is that his political activities as a representative of his former business are a different matter to his personal decisions.

On that note his statement to the Telegraph says “As a businessman, I did indeed attend this event for the Asian business community but, like many British Asians, I feel the Labour Government does not have the answers to the challenges that face the country.”

But the timing is terrible, and rather highlights just how rapidly the Conservatives picked their candidate, causing much complaint from their own side and a defection of a local party member to the Liberal Democrats.

The other thing it highlights, which is not good for David Cameron is just how superficial his project is proving to be if Tony Lit, Blair-donor one week, Cameron-candidate the next, is his chosen representative of what he wants to change in his own party. It takes the whole ‘heir to Blair’ line to an embarrassing extreme.

It’s also not obviously smart for Labour to have highlighted this. The public could well read this as confirmation of the Liberal Democrat message of ‘vote conservative, get labour’. If there is an anti-Labour majority in Ealing the splitting of that opposition vote is Labour’s best chance of holding the seat.

This event though should polarise it. Certainly the odds I just checked on Betfair (after yesterday’s story) have shifted with the Conservatives in third on 4.4 and Liberal Democrats second on 3.6, Labour unchanged. That looks like the start of momentum to me and what Labour don’t want is a clear anti-Labour opponent to emerge in the next four days.

This could be the story that decides the outcome on Thursday.



  1. Tapestry said

    Different hats? ‘as a businessman’ Tony Lit has access to the highest levels inside Labour – and yet he chooses the Conservatives. I am not sure this looks as good for Labour as Watson thinks. It boosts Lit’s profile.

  2. David Sergeant said

    Funny the way we look at things. If Tony Lit had given to the Tories last month and was now a Labour candidate we would calling it a defection and praising Brown for wanting “all the talents”. We always seem to have different ways of looking at political parties.

  3. Bobby said

    You don’t pay that sort of money and then pose with someone who is only going to be Prime Minister for another 6 days unless your a supporter. It shows how superficial the tories have become, in their desperation not to come third or fourth they select someone who has never been a conservative because of his community links hoping to do better than usual in by elections.

  4. Liberal Neil said

    This can only play badly for the Tories. Credibility is vital in a by-election and this story damages theirs badly. Tories appear to be slipping further behind in the betting now.

  5. Mike said

    This looks incredibly bad for the Labour Party. Even after Lit met Tony Blair, he still wanted to stand for the Conservatives. Labour must be kicking themselves that they’re now left with one of the most boring and low-profile by-election candidates ever!

  6. Chris Paul said

    Mike: what arrant nonsense! Lit simply wanted to stand for anyone. To stand for Labour in all but the most special case he would have to have joined and worked in the party for some years before he had any hope of being selected as a PPC in a winnable seat. But having only personal ambition and no politics this rich man will do whatever he has to do to become an MP.

    Mike: Are you Grant Schweppes or one of his used car sales muppets?

    Oh what the heck: You are Grant Shapps and I claim my £10!

  7. Tapestry said

    The £4800 was the ticket price to be at the Asian Business Dinner. Radio Stations have to be politically neutral and keep a high profile. This is just normal business.

    What an amazing investment it must have proved to be. Tony Lit could not have got this much exposure for an advertising budget of £40 million. He’s now overnight a nationally recognised figure. He could win the seat on the stength of it.

  8. Chris Paul said

    He could win the crown as the most opportunistical and careerist wannabe MP since the Trollopian chancer Melmotte. And you can quote me on that one.

  9. Gospel of Enoch said

    This proved the Tories are really BLUE-LABOUR, and there is no more than a cigarette paper’s width worth of difference between the big three parties.

  10. True Blue said


  11. True Blue said


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