KPMG head of public policy Neil Sherlock has been named as one of three
donors who have made regular payments to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s
private bank account.
The payments of £250 per month each from Sherlock, Diageo senior executive
Ian Wright and former gold mining executive Peter Young were all declared to
Parliamentary authorities by Mr Clegg at the time.
They were revealed by the Daily Telegraph ahead of tonight’s Leader’s Debate
on Sky News.
The Telegraph report said that the Liberal Democrat leader “is
likely to face questions over the arrangement”.
It also detailed some of the other sources of funding available to the leader
of the Liberal Democrats and questioned why the money had been paid to the
leader and not to his party direct.
The news came with the conservatives and Labour caught on the back foot with
Clegg’s surprise surge in the polls following the first Leader’s Debate on ITV
Sherlock and the other two businessmen were said to be happy that the money
was properly used to fund the employment of extra staff in Clegg’s office when
he became leader of his party.
The Liberal Democrats said a separate leader’s office account was
subsequently set up and the payments were made directly into that and later
attacked his accusers for attempting to slur Clegg’s name. Clegg denied any
Sherlock told Accountancy Age in a statement: “It’s no secret that –
in a personal capacity – I am a long standing member of the Liberal Democrats,
and that I openly contribute both to party funding and to policy debates (I have
attended conference since 1985 and was a PPC in 1997).
“However, KPMG is not aligned to any political party. The firm does provide
non-cash donations to all the leading political parties – in the form of staff
secondments (which are recorded on the Electoral Commission website). As head of
public policy at KPMG, I liaise on accounting issues with a wide range of
groups and organisations, including all the main political parties.”
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