The Constitutional Research Council, Backing The DUP And The Tory Right

Among the many things linking the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom and the far-right Democratic Unionist Party in the Six Counties, the UK’s legacy colony on the island of Ireland, is the mysterious lobby group known as the Constitutional Research Council or CRC. Last year, during Britain’s turbulent referendum on its membership of the European Union, the Leave-supporting body secretly channelled hundreds of thousands of pounds into the British anti-EU campaign using the services of the xenophobic DUP. While much of this “dark money” went on an advertising blitz in the English press some of it was retained by the extremist party to fill its own coffers in the UK-administrated north-east.

Investigations by a number of news publications in Ireland and Britain quickly revealed that the CRC was founded and led by a former Tory vice-chairperson and parliamentary candidate in Scotland, Richard Cook, an individual with controversial links to leading members of the Saudi royal family. Furthermore, it soon emerged that the Constitutional Research Council was the supposed “think tank” behind several polls claiming majority support for Theresa May among Conservative MPs during her campaign to become the party leader in July of 2016.

Jamie Doward of the Guardian now reports that Steve Baker, a minister in May’s DUP-reliant government in London, has been another recipient of CRC generosity.

The new minister for securing the UK’s departure from the EU is under pressure to clarify his relationship with the obscure organisation behind a controversial £435,000 donation to the Democratic Unionist Party during last year’s Brexit referendum.

Steve Baker, a leading light on the Tory right, has also received £6,500 from the Constitutional Research Council, the body behind the DUP donation. The revelation has heightened interest in the council and its links to two powerful organisations now holding sway over British politics: the DUP, whose 10 MPs are propping up the Tory government, and the European Research Group, an increasingly influential group of around 80 pro-Brexit MPs that was chaired by Baker until he stood down last month.

The council is chaired by Richard Cook, a former vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, whose business associates include a former Saudi spy chief and a man alleged to have been an intermediary in a major arms scandal. It has no website and publishes no accounts and is one of several organisations that have emerged as having played a key role in securing Britain’s exit from the EU.

Baker’s appointment to office follows the return to power of Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the United Kingdom and a fierce opponent of the Irish-British peace process of the 1990s and early 2000s. Both men are close to the Democratic Unionists and have expressed belligerent support for Britain’s continued politico-military presence in Ireland as well as deep-seated animosity towards the European Union. Animosity which contributed to last summer’s disastrous plebiscite in Britain after many years of devious labour by the Europhobic duo and their fellow travellers in the British ultra-nationalist right.

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12 comments

  1. This is all very unsavory. Secret donations from unknown people; what are they really up to and what are they after? I’m not a great believer in conspiracy theories, but here there is such a pong that I think something is going on. And I can be pretty sure whatever it is won’t be to your or my benefit.

    1. It’s the Saudi links that are the most intriguing. We know that the country has bankrolled a number of political causes in recent years around the “West” in a manner not too dissimilar from that alleged about the Russians. Moscow uses armies of hackers, Riyadh uses bags of petro-dollars. Different methods, same intent.

    1. Actually the British Constitution is made up of three written documents; the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and the Coronation Oath. The Oath is actually a contract between the Queen and the people, last updated on the request of our old mate King William of Orange, just before he took the throne.
      Interestingly the Queen signed the oath above the title and a piece of purple ribbon was glued on between her signature and the title (search for a pic online to see). Try doing that the next time you’re signing a contract of any kind and see what happens! In other words, she didn’t actually sign the contract.
      There is an ongoing parliamentary committee that is discussing the “re-setting” of the British Constitution, which seems like a nice idea, but they haven’t even agreed on whether the British people should have say or not.
      Northern Ireland is obviously a bit of a no-mans-land constitutionally speaking, one wonders whether we’d be better off going back to Brehon Law or something!

      1. That’s very useful Mike. The point about a lack of input from the British people is telling. And depressing.

        Steve Baker is a curious character. He’s obviously hugely influenced by the libertarian right which in one way makes the connection with the DUP odd given there’s not a lot libertarian about them.

  2. As I keep saying…who cares? No difference regarding Ireland between Tory and Labour. Jeremy Corbyn and Abbot and McDonnel and the rest have all jettisoned their support for Irish unity the closer they get to governing. I bet Corbyn would do a deal with DUP if the seat numbers were right.

    1. Yet another right-wing so-called “Think Tank” – “Policy Exchange” advocating that Ireland leave the EU :
      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/ireland-should-seriously-consider-irexit-says-uk-think-tank-1.3141692
      “The DUP’s central role in Brexit negotiations as part of its relationship with the Tories should facilitate strong cooperation across Ireland.”
      Infantile beyond belief that anyone could seriously post such blatant nonsense – The DUP is Hibernophobic, loathes Irish Nationalism, the independent Irish state, the GAA, the Irish langauge, the Irish Nation, Irish culture, Ireland itself – and just about everything that the Irish nation holds dear.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Policy_Exchange
      “Policy Exchange is the largest and most influential think tank on the right” – The British Telegraph.
      Think tank Transparify, which is funded by the Open Society Foundations, ranked the “Policy Exchange” as one of the three least transparent think tanks in the UK in relation to funding. Transparify’s report ‘How Transparent are Think Tanks about Who Funds Them 2016?’ rated them as ‘highly opaque,’ one of ‘a handful of think tanks that refuse to reveal even the identities of their donors.[9]’ Website ‘WhoFundsYou?’ rate Policy Exchange as ‘D’, the second lowest score out of five for funding transparency.[10
      Stinks to Hell.

      1. Yeah, that is sooo ridiculous. And the Irish advocates of Irexit are very much part of the “Let’s join the British commonwealth” camp in the press. The Hibernian Forum types.

        1. The EU is an un democratic institution that infringes on Irish sovereignty. Irish republicans are right on wanting Irexit. The EU needs to be dismantled.

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