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What Lord Ashcroft’s breakup with the Tories means for David Cameron

24 February 2013

Now Lord Ashcroft has withdrawn his funding (£) from the Tory party, what implications does the move have for David Cameron? Much like losing Britain’s AAA rating this week, it’s less about the actual impact for his government but the message it sends out about where they are going. As the Sunday Times reports today, the Tory peer has lost all faith in Conservatives’ ability to win the next election:

‘It comes amid mounting pessimism among Tory supporters about the prospects of victory. Although Ashcroft has not publicly expressed doubts over the party’s ability to win, privately he is said to fear Labour is likely to secure more seats. A source close to Ashcroft said: “He feels he has done his bit.”’

Although Ladbrokes still has the odds of a Tory majority at 4/1, Ashcroft commented to a friend recently that he wouldn’t place money even on those odds. The peer seems to have concluded this is not the best use of his money. The concern for Cameron is whether other the other big donors will follow his lead.

As I’ve examined before, Ashcroft has been Cameron’s biggest single supporter during his leadership, donating £10 million to the party. Look at this chart to see how much he has given over the past five years compared to the other big donors: