Sunday, 18 September 2011


Questions over gambling chief's £200,000 Tory gift
By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:50 AM on 5th February 2009

The Tories were facing questions last night over a £200,000 gift from a fruit machine tycoon.

Four leisure companies connected to multi-millionaire Trevor Hemmings handed the cash to the party after its frontbenchers fought to relax gambling laws.

It also emerged that the businessman, who owns Blackpool Tower, had financial links to a Labour peer who backed his plan to build a Las Vegas-style supercasino in the seaside resort.

Donation: David Cameron with slot machine boss Trevor Hemmings at Uttoxeter racecourse in 2007
In February last year, Tory culture spokesman Tobias Ellwood called on the Government to double the maximum stake for one-armed bandits with £500 jackpots from £1 to £2.
He also urged ministers to scrap the rule which limits premises from having any more than four of the machines.

Over the following four months, firms connected to 73-year-old Mr Hemmings made four £50,000 donations.

One, Crown Leisure, supplies slot machines to pubs, clubs, casinos and amusement arcades.

Yesterday critics urged Tory leader David Cameron to guarantee that his party was not becoming embroiled in a 'cash-for-favours' row.

Labour backbencher David Borrow said: 'David Cameron needs to come clean over exactly how influential this person is in the Conservative Party.'

David Miller, of the Association for Lobbying Transparency, said: 'It is a clear problem of conflict of interest. The Conservatives should just send the money back.'

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The Tories vehemently denied they had been compromised by the donations, which
were all registered with the Electoral Commission.

A spokesman said: 'Our policy was formulated before any of these donations were made.

'These companies, like all other donors to the party, have had no influence over its policies.'

The Government recently announced it will double the stake allowed on cheaper slot machines - from 50p to £1 - but it has not yet introduced the measure for more expensive machines.

A Tory source insisted that raising the amount gamblers could bet on £500-prize machines could help prevent problem betting.

Gamblers would be less tempted to switch to highlyaddictive fixed-odds terminals in betting shops, which have a maximum £100 stake, the source claimed.

Three of the firms donating £50,000 - Northern Trust Company, Trust Inns and Classic Lodges - are owned by a holding company that lists Mr Hemmings as director, while Crown Leisure shares a phone number with his private office.

At the time, the total £200,000 donation made the entrepreneur - whose horse Hedgehunter won the 2005 Grand National - the Tories' second- largest corporate donor.

Sources said Mr Hemmings strenuously denied any suggestions he had sought to influence Tory policy.

Earlier it was revealed that Lord Faulkner of Worcester voted against the Government in the Lords when it announced a supercasino would be built in Manchester.

Before proposals for the gambling palace were axed by Gordon Brown, the Labour peer repeatedly spoke out in support of Blackpool's bid.

But he failed to disclose that he was a non-Parliamentary consultant to Sportech, a leisure company of which Mr Hemmings is the largest shareholder.

The Lords code of conduct requires peers to declare any relevant interests when speaking in the chamber.

Lord Faulkner, ennobled in 1999, denied any conflict of interest or wrongdoing.

He admitted not declaring links to Sportech when he spoke up for the Blackpool casino, but insisted he intervened only because he was impressed by the town's bid.

Mr Hemmings could not be contacted yesterday

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Zoompad said...

This is a very strange thing. One of the Farce bloggers left this comment on their Satanic Blog of Doom. Now I always thought it was John Hemmings flat Stuart was staying at, not this reclusive racehorse owning billionaire. I wonder if he has any sons? Come to think of it, I wonder who John Hemming's father is?

Anonymous said...
Careful now folks, any criticism of Mrs Pitman and she will take another two months off work claiming harassment. there must be a consistent indent in her couch lateley just like there was on Trevor Hemmings when Syvret lounged on it for six months

September 17, 2011

Zoompad said...

I see the Blog of Doom has gone down again.

Zoompad said...

The cursed Blog of Doom is back

Roulette games said...

Casino is a best place for play gamble. That make secure to money and legal prospects. Information make it excellence.

Zoompad said...

I don't think the Prime Minister should be doing anything at all to encourage that pastime. If anything, the Prime Minister ought to be doing stuff to protect people from the sharks who run such joints.

Zoompad said...

It isn't a very nice thing to watch someone who is addicted to gambling lose all their money and their life go down the plug hole. I know that because I have had to see it happen to someone I loved.

Zoompad said...

I think David Cameron is a man with a good heart who does not always make the right decision. I can't say I am any better myself as I dont always make the right decision, being only human.

There is a vast difference between making bad judgement and deliberate criminality.

I wont be throwing any stones at the Prime Minister, but I think he needs to seriously wise up and open his eyes to some of the scumbags who are in his circle of trust.