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Tory donor Nick Candy praises Starmer and says it’s ‘time for a change’

Millionaire who has given Conservatives £270,000 slates party infighting and power of Dominic Cummings

Jane Dalton
Thursday 08 February 2024 21:28 GMT
'Foolish' for Tory party to indulge in infighting, says James Cleverly

A millionaire Conservative donor has said it is “probably time for a change” as he hailed Labour leader Keir Starmer as “a decent man with good values and good morals”.

In a blow for Rishi Sunak’s government, property tycoon Nick Candy slated infighting in the Tory party, which he said has been going on “for the last few years”.

Mr Candy, who donated more than £270,000 to the Conservatives between 2020 and 2022, according to the Electoral Commission, also attacked the power and influence of party advisers such as Dominic Cummings.

The Tories have been facing struggles on several fronts, including an attempted coup, reports of a plan to oust the prime minister by a group called “evil plotters”, setbacks in Mr Sunak’s flagship Rwanda deportation plan and low poll ratings.

Mr Candy said: “I think it’s probably time for a change. I think all this infighting in the Tories even now with talk of Kemi Badenoch replacing Rishi by mid-May with people that have nothing to do with…

“The British people should know what’s going on. And the likes of [Tory adviser] Dougie Smith and Dominic Cummings, who I’ve never met, so they think they can just pick and choose who’s going to be the leader of the Conservative Party under their remit.

“I think it’s wrong, and based on that maybe it’s time for some change.”

Nick Candy, left, with wife Holly Valance (PA Wire)

Just days ago, the 51-year-old businessman attended the launch of the new ‘Popular Conservatism’ group with his wife, former Neighbours star Holly Valance, where they heard speeches by ex-prime minister Liz Truss, ex-minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and outspoken MP Lee Anderson.

After the Westminster event, Ms Valance backed Sir Jacob to succeed Mr Sunak as Tory leader and praised Mr Anderson and Ms Truss.

Speaking to Bloomberg’s In the City podcast, Mr Candy said that we “still don’t know the Labour policies”, but added: “Do I think Keir Starmer’s a decent man with good values and good morals? One hundred per cent.”

Although he admitted voting for Tony Blair in 1997, Mr Candy said he was naturally a Tory. He backed Conservative Shaun Bailey’s unsuccessful campaign to be mayor of London in 2021 and was spotted at Mr Bailey’s lockdown party in December 2020, when indoor household mixing was banned.

Later in the podcast, when discussing property markets here and abroad, he praised the government of Dubai, adding: “I would love to have leadership like that in this country where politics aren’t in the way and they actually make really good decisions, smart decisions fast.

“The problem is here it takes for ever. Democracies are great when you’ve got visionary leadership and you’ve got people working together to get things done. It seems like for the last few years we’ve been infighting.”

Last October, Larry Fink, one of the world’s leading financiers, gave his backing to Sir Keir Starmer, saying the Labour leader offered a “measurement of hope” for British politics.

Mr Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, told the Wall Street Journal that Sir Keir had shown “real strength” in bringing Labour back to the centre ground of British.

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