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Tory donations row - Island link

A billionaire with homes in the Isle of Man and Jersey is at the centre of a row over £200,000 in donations to the Conservative Party.

The party accepted £200,000 from a slot machine business owned by Trevor Hemmings shortly after calling for softer rules on arcade gambling.

Four companies with links to the businessman gave the party £50,000 each last year, the first donation coming just as the Tory front bench called on the UK Government to soften restrictions on fruit machines.

The UK’s Association for Lobbying Transparency has called for the donations to be repaid.

Jason Roberts reports (text, below, from attached audio file):

Seventy-three year-old Mr Hemmings owns Blackpool Tower and the holding companies behind Northern Trust Company, Trust Inns, Classic Lodges and Crown Leisure – the four firms which made the donations.

In February last year, the Conservatives called for changes to a law which says you can’t have more than four machines which pay £500 jackpots on the same premises.

They also called for the minimum stake on such machines to be doubled from £1 to £2.

The revelations in the UK press have led the Association for Lobbying Transparency to claim it's a conflict of interests and to call for the Conservatives to return the cash.

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