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Starmer more receptive to my ideas than Sunak’s party, says Tory donor

Phones4u billionaire John Caudwell said Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer is ‘receptive’ to his ideas for improving Britain (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Phones4u billionaire John Caudwell said Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer is ‘receptive’ to his ideas for improving Britain (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A Tory donor has said Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer is “more receptive” to his proposals than Rishi Sunak’s governing party.

John Caudwell, founder of the now defunct mobile phone retailer Phones4U, donated £500,000 to the Conservative Party before the 2019 election when Boris Johnson was at its helm.

But the billionaire has appeared disillusioned with the party in recent months, having criticised Prime Minister Mr Sunak’s move this autumn to water down net zero comments.

And in comments made on Friday, the businessman heaped praise on Sir Keir, the Opposition leader, and refused to rule out providing money towards Labour’s war chest ahead of a likely general election next year.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? programme, Mr Caudwell said: “I’ve put so many policies to the Conservative Party to make Britain great again, to put the great back into Great Britain, drive the GDP, drive the wealth for people again.

“I’ve met with Keir Starmer and he is more receptive to my ideas than the Tory Party.

“Will that mean I donate? I can’t answer that.

“But what can I tell you is that any party that makes Britain great by having the right policies… any party that does what I think will make Britain great again … I’ll donate to.”

Mr Caudwell told The Sunday Times in September that he would no longer financially back the Tories if Mr Sunak kept with his changed stance on environmental policies.

Keir Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is on course to be the next prime minister, according to opinion polls (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“If Rishi sticks to this, would I donate to the Conservative Party? Absolutely not. No chance whatsoever with the decisions they are making at the moment,” he said.

“Would I switch to Labour? The answer to that is very simple: I will support any party that I believe will do the right thing for Britain going forward.”

Labour leader Sir Keir is on course to be the next prime minister, according to current polling.

His party have been consistently ahead in opinion polls, with some surveys putting them as much as 20 points ahead of the Tories, who have been in power since 2010.