Justin Tomlinson with Wonga comms director John Moorwood

A government minister is expected to come under pressure to resign tonight — after an investigation by Political Scrapbook uncovered financial links between a Tory donor to his campaign, a controversial payday loan firm and a football club for which he brokered a sponsorship deal.

Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson had already been called on to quit his role as a DWP minister after he admitted leaking a secret draft report to payday spivs Wonga when he was a member of a select committee which was, errrr, supposed to be investigating them.

This website has now uncovered evidence of a highly dubious deleting spree of references to Wonga on his official website — especially in respect of a sponsorship deal between the company and a local semi-professional football team, Swindon Supermarine.

Here’s an extract from just nine days ago:

And we can’t leave sport without a word about Swindon Town and Swindon Supermarine. Both clubs have had mixed years, but Supermarine had cause to celebrate. I nominated the club to be sponsored by Wonga.com and I’m delighted that the company signed up. I’ll continue to cheer on our local teams from the terraces whenever I can!

The same extract today:

And we can’t leave sport without a word about Swindon Town and Swindon Supermarine. Both clubs have had mixed years, but I’ll continue to cheer on our local teams from the terraces whenever I can!

This page had six references shrunk to just a single mention in the penultimate paragraph:

Tomlinson deletes Wonga references

Some references to his relationship with Wonga remain on the site — so why does Tomlinson appear to be so sensitive about the football connection? 

Could it be because his local Conservative Party has received more than £30,000 in donations from the chairman of Supermarine football club?

The same football club Tomlinson persuaded Wonga to sponsor?
The same company to which he leaked a confidential draft report?!

THE LEGAL BIT: Apparently the club chair says the donations to Tomlinson’s party after Tomlinson brokered the sponsorship are not linked. All parties to the affair deny wrongdoing.

STATEMENT FROM WONGA (UPDATE): “The sponsorship of Swindon Supermarine FC was entered into by the former management of Wonga in 2011. In 2014, Wonga’s new management team reviewed all marketing, including a number of football sponsorship deals. The Swindon sponsorship was not renewed for the current season, which was the earliest opportunity to end the deal.”

  1. Jamie Oliver talking down the highly profitable sugar industry and now you want to undermine the lucrative legal loan shark businesses too?
    That’s not going to go down well!

  2. Yep. Tomlinson arranges £30k sponsorship from Wonga for a football club, then leaks a confidential report to Wonga, then gets £30k donated to his local party from the chairman of the same club. Coincidence, obviously.

  3. When mutual back-scratching becomes illegal rather than reprehensible but commonplace in Westminster… let us know. What you clearly fail to understand is that most Tory voters think greasing the wheels in this way is a GOOD thing.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

1000

Comments are limited to 1000 characters.