GUIDE has been given a LibDem strategy document that describes Brexit as a “revenue opportunity” and says big donors have “expectations” for how the party will spend their money.
The document, written by LibDem Chief Executive Tim Gordon, lists the LibDems’ financial difficulties, with “poor conference results” set to continue and the LibDem 2017 conference expected to “break-even at best”. Gordon also says “standing order decay continues” for membership subscriptions and those returns will be “worse than [the] last 4 years”.
In a second document, LibDem finance manager Tope Famaks says the party is facing rising costs from their imported Nationbuilder and Connect campaigning tools, which have become more expensive due to exchange rate changes.
The party plans to use the “revenue opportunities” of “our European positioning” and negotiate a new “right to sub-let [a] portion of the GGS [Great George Street]” headquarters with its landlord.
Gordon says the LibDems can secure “one-off, often unpredictable but transformative donations” and the “post-BREXIT political situation has [the] potential to strengthen our income streams”. Indeed, it seems this is already happening and “by-elections have helped us mobilise donors, many inspired by our European positioning”. There is an “expectation from [our] key donor that the money will be spent on driving momentum in [the] year ahead”. A third document points to the success of this fundraising, as the LibDems expected to raise £100k in campaign funds last year, but actually secured more than £2.3m of donations.
The documents raise three important questions:
1/ Do the LibDems have a financial incentive to obstruct the Brexit process?
2/ To what extent is LibDem Brexit policy (e.g. their call for a second referendum) influenced by the potential to raise future funds for the party?
3/ Does the LibDem plan to secure funds and national support after their 2015 collapse rely on prolonging the Brexit debate?
For comment and further details, please contact GUIDE’s Chief Executive on email@example.com