A motion calling for the Conservative Party to pay back £36,000 of donations Northampton South MP David Mackintosh received for his election campaign was turned down by the Tories at the Guildhall last night.
In what turned out to be a fiery debating point at the December full Northampton Borough Council meeting, the Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Sally Beardsworth said the Tories had a duty to repay the money.
Councillor Sally Beardsworth.
Her call came after it emerged former council leader Mr Mackintosh had received at least two £10,000 donations to his 2015 fighting fund from business associates of Howard Grossman, the Bushey-based man who was sole director of the development firm tasked with managing the Sixfields stadium revamp in 2013. Neither of the two associates were connected to 1st Land and there is nothing illegal about businesspeople donating money to election funds. Both the police and the Electoral Commission have said they are not investigating.
Mr Mackintosh has said in the past that the payments were given on the basis of national issues, not local ones, and he said he had not discussed Sixfields or the loan to anyone who donated money.
But with the borough council now pursuing legal action to reclaim that £10.25 million it loaned to Northampton Town in 2013 for the stadium revamp, last night Councillor Beardsworth said it should also seek to recover £36,000 of donations to Mr Mackintosh’s fighting fund as well.
The motion read: “Given that the loan money has gone missing, it is essential we retrieve as much as possible of the £10.25 million and that we avoid any perception of propriety [sic] beyond what cannot be avoided.
“Therefore this council resolves to formally request the return of all and any donations linked to anyone that could have financially benefitted from the loan from this council from the Conservative party to be counted against the NTFC loan.”