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Tory party donations by insurance firms in marked increase since 2005

Guardian investigation reveals financial firms with insurance interests have given £4.9m since Cameron became leader

Read the Elections Commission data showing the donations

The Conservative party has had a long-standing financial relationship with insurance companies. According to an investigation by the Guardian, financial firms with insurance interests have given the Tories £5.4m in the last decade, £4.9m of that since David Cameron became leader in December 2005. At the heart of this largesse lies a golden circle of Tory backers, the most prominent of which is IPGL, a private holding company controlled by businessman Michael Spencer that owns the insurance company Insurance Capital Partners and partly owns an insurance brokerage called Oxygen.

Other prominent donors include Theodore Agnew, who founded an insurance firm in 1989 and gave £134,000, and Peter Wood, the founder of Direct Line, who gave Chris Grayling, then shadow home secretary, £71,000 to run his office.

The Guardian investigation looked at MP’s earnings and discovered that one of the new intake, Stephen Phillips, a QC who specialises in insurance and reinsurance litigation, since being elected in 2010 has earned £689,000 working for law firms based in the City of London and Hong Kong. That works out at £46,000 a month – a rate of earning that means he makes as much trading on his skills as a silk in 45 days as he does for a whole year working for the 80,000 voters of Sleaford and North Hykeham in Lincolnshire. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds