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Ministerial aide to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson had 2015 election campaign bankrolled by a Russian oligarch

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Evolve Politics can reveal that Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed and PPS for Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, had her 2015 election campaign bankrolled by a Russian billionaire.

Prior to the 2015 election, the seat was held by the Liberal Democrats.

Trevelyan is currently Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to outspoken Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who ironically, recently told Russia to “go away” and “shut up” after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. It appears Williamson was only aiming his comments at those who don’t open up their chequebooks to the Conservative Party.

Russian money and involvement in British politics has come under harsher scrutiny since the Salisbury poisoning. Is the man in charge of the safety of this country, Gavin Williamson, aware that one of his ministerial aides is one of the plethora of Conservative MPs who have benefited from Alexander Temerko’s donations for years?

Alexander Temerko, a regular and significant Conservative Party donor, donated £10,210 to Trevelyan’s local Conservative Party between 2014 and May 2015. The full list of Temerko’s donations to Conservative MPs and local parties can be seen at the Electoral Commission records here.

The Guardian have previously reported that Temerko donated almost £9000 in campaign materials to Trevalyen’s 2015 campaign, and to several Tory MPs in marginal seats at the time, including James Wharton and Guto Bebb.

Temerko has donated significant sums of money to Conservative Party HQ, Tory Party Chairman Brandon Lewis and Nigel Adams MP in the last eighteen months. The Russian billionaire, who is now a UK citizen and vehement opponent of Vladimir Putin, has a long history of involvement with the Conservative Party. As a member, he has donated over £500,000 to the party.

Something tells us that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is more than aware of Temerko’s influence in the Conservative Party. After all, Temerko himself (hilariously) gave Williamson a glowing endorsement, and compared him to Winston Churchill in a blog for the ConservativeHome website.

Despite Williamson’s tough talk on Russia, it appears that his aide Trevelyan has personally benefited from Temerko’s donations, having won her Berwick-upon-Tweed seat off the Liberal Democrats in 2015. Not only that, but Williamson appears to be lapping up Temerko’s support himself.

Let’s just hope for the sake of our safety that no conflict of interest ever arises. Perhaps the Tories may benefit from listening to the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, who called for the Conservatives to return the £820,000 donated by Russian oligarchs since Theresa May became leader.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan has come under fire from a branch of the local Labour Party in Berwick-upon-Tweed, who have sent her a letter demanding that she clarifies these donations, as well as donations from the ‘Trevelyan Campaign Fund’ (it is unclear where money from this fund was originally sourced). They are yet to receive an official response, but simply want Trevelyan to address serious concerns from her constituents about how she has been funded in the past.

Evolve Politics have approached Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP for comment.

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