Politics

Billionaire donor to the Tories handed knighthood in New Year Honours 2022


Hedge fund boss David Harding gave an unprecedented £100million to Cambridge University – he is also a megabucks donor to the Conservative Party with nearly £500k in three years

Hedge fund boss David Harding has been knighted for “services to philanthropy”
Hedge fund boss David Harding has been knighted for “services to philanthropy”

A billionaire who has donated large sums to the Conservative Party has handed a knighthood in the New Year Honours.

Hedge fund boss David Harding has been knighted for “services to philanthropy”, the government announced tonight.

The 60-year-old’s gifts to science and mathematics programmes include £100million to Cambridge University in 2019 – the largest ever single donation by a Brit to a UK university.

He is also a major donor to the Conservative Party, having pumped more than £1.5million into the Tory war chest since 2006.

Sir David, who founded investment management firm Winton in 1997, donated more than £1m to pro-Remain groups in the EU referendum.

In 2018 he was named as a member of the Tory Leader’s Group, offering him the chance to dine with ministers including then-PM Theresa May.







Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has held up financially partly thanks to Sir David
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Scott Heppell/AFP/Getty Images)

But he has also generously helped the party under Brexiteer Boris Johnson, donating almost £500,000 to the Tories since the PM came to power.

His gifts include a single £200,000 donation a few weeks before the 2019 election.

Sir David could not be reached for comment.

Lobbyist Simon Nayyar, with £10k of donations to the Conservative Party from 2016 recorded under his name, was made a MBE. The former parliamentary candidate runs a London PR firm.

Conservative MP Bill Wiggin, who was first elected in 2001, receives a knighthood.

He was a Government whip under David Cameron and backed Boris Johnson in the 2019 Tory leadership race.







Conservative MP Bill Wiggin, who was first elected in 2001, receives a knighthood
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PA Archive/Press Association Images)

Following Mr Johnson’s victory, fawning North Herefordshire MP Mr Wiggin gushed: “I am delighted for Boris and wish him the very best for a successful premiership. I am excited for the future of our county and our country under this leader.”

Brexiteer Mr Wiggin, 55, apologised to the Commons in 2010 for a serious breach of parliamentary expenses rules after wrongly claiming for utility expenses not incurred.

The Parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee ordered him to repay £4,009.

The committee accepted “chaotic” arrangements were to blame for him also claiming second-home expenses.

He had mistakenly claimed £11,000 for mortgage payments on his home in Ledbury, Herefordshire, instead of his London home.

Former Environment Minister Robert Goodwill is also knighted.

He has been MP for Scarborough and Whitby, North Yorks, since 2005.

Labour ’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “During the pandemic the public has rightly come together to celebrate the real heroes from all those keeping our NHS going, our vaccine volunteers, key workers and all those who went above and beyond to keep our communities thriving.

“After months of revelations about Tory sleaze, Boris Johnson’s decision to honour those who have given money to the Conservative Party at this time is particularly galling.

“This just shows that once again the Conservatives have the wrong priorities.”

Top honours have gone to politicians from across the spectrum.

Until now ex-PM Tony Blair did not have a knighthood – unlike his predecessor Sir John Major.

But from today he is Sir Tony after being appointed a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter – an ultra-exclusive group that can only ever have 24 living non-royal members.

Sir Tony, who held the keys to Number 10 between 1997 and 2007, will be appointed to the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry – knighting him with the highest possible ranking.







Until now ex-PM Tony Blair did not have a knighthood – but now he is Sir Tony
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Former Labour MP Sylvia Heal, 79, who represented Halesowen and Rowley Regis, West Mids, from 1997 to 2010, becomes a dame.

Her fellow ex-Labour MP John Battle, 70, who represented Leeds West from 1987 to 2010, becomes a sir.

And Lord Frank Field, who was MP for Birkenhead from 1979 to 2019, and was a Welfare Minister under Tony Blair, is made a Companion of Honour – one of the highest accolades.

Lord Field, 79, who has spent a lifetime campaigning against poverty, revealed in October that he was terminally ill as he backed a law that would allow assisted dying.

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