•  Major Tory donor opposed to Severn Barrage project gave £17000 to Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie’s local party
  • Leslie failed to declare an interest when questioning Ed Davey and Vince Cable on the project’s research funding
  • She finally apologised this week – seven months after she belatedly added the donation to the register


A Tory MP tabled three parliamentary questions on the Severn Barrage, failing to declare a £17000 donation from a port magnate opposed to the project.

While Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie apologised to the House on Tuesday for failing to properly declare donations, the link to the Severn Barrage has only been picked up by local media.

Although she knew about the error in August, and updated the register – she says it took until Tuesday for her to work out there was a bigger problem.

What nobody but the local papers seem to have picked up is that since 2009 she’s been fed £17000 by a major Tory donor called David Ord.

David Ord is joint owner of Bristol Port, who are vehemently against the proposed Severn Barrage Project.

Since being elected in 2010, Leslie has asked two written questions of Ed Davey on the feasibility and funding of the Barrage, and one of Vince Cable – all without declaring her 17 grand interest in the project’s principle detractor.

On top of that, she admitted to her local Tory party pocketing £2500 from one Theodore Agnew – whom she questioned when he appeared at the Education Select Committee.

Leslie, who has a staff who one would thought have an understanding of prejudicial interests, blamed the oversight on her dyslexia. Which could in part explain why the national press have largely left her alone.

But several questions remain unanswered:

  • How did it take a professional politician with a professional staff seven months to work out she’d failed to declare an interest on a £17000 donation? 
  • Did it really need a local paper to point it out to her before she realised?
  • Has Leslie ever had discussions with David Ord or his company?
  • Why isn’t this being investigated in terms of “cash for questions?”

Scrapbook have approached Leslie with these questions, but she hasn’t as yet replied.

  1. Peter Hutchinson says:

    I think that someone who did classics at Balliol despite dyslexia should be able to cope with HoC paperwork (although Boris also seems to have issues….)

  2. Four years into this Parliament, she twigs that advice from Commons staff might have been some help to her in complying with Commons rules. Shedloads of briefing and advice and seminars were made available to new Members in 2010, and very few bothered to take it up. No sympathy.

  3. Fascinating!

    Ms Leslie apparently graduated out of Balliol, Oxford, with a degree in Classics. I assume that makes her dyslexic in at least three languages (two of them antique).


  4. The deep irony of the Bristol Port’s position is that the barrage will stabilise sea levels at the current point ; it will obviate the need for all further investment in infrastructure as sea levels rise; and reduce the risk re tidal surges.

    If we have misjudged sea level rise significantly over the next century and its over 1metre as I believe will be the case then this is not only corruption but a massive political misjudgement.

    Tory marginal which is why its Press is silent.

  5. franklin percival says:

    She has misled the house and while she may not have shared a mistress with a russian spy, she need only follow John Profumo’s honourable example by seeking stewardship of the Manor of the Chiltern Hundreds and devoting the rest of her life to doing something for people other than herself.

  6. Maybe it’s just me, but the lady in question looks positively ‘mannish’.

    Perhaps a poor photograph?

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