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