It isn’t clear whether money raised by rank-and-file Party members, through membership fees and other donations, has helped to fund Boris Johnson’s private costs – be they legal fees, say, or flat refurbishment.
It appears that a gift of £58,000 from one prosperous donor, Lord Brownlow, was originally made to help meet the costs of that flat refurbishment, and that it was paid via CCHQ.
It’s therefore debatable whether such a gift would fall within the terms of the question above. Which is what we want: our aim was to ask our Party member panel about a question of principle, not the current row. And our sense is that it has responded in exactly that way.
We suspect that its verdict above is less a slap across the wrist for the Prime Minister than a simple statement of opinion. Seven in ten members of the panel believe that it’s inappropriate for money raised by Party activists to be spent on the Party leader’s private costs.
Two in ten think otherwise and one in ten don’t know. That’s a substantial majority for maintaining a wall between members’ donations and the private spending of the Party leader – whoever he may be at any time.