by Hilary White
LONDON, March 5, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the UK Conservative Party’s biggest donors is reportedly pulling his funding after the party created “gay marriage” last year. The billionaire banker, philanthropist and arts patron Michael Hintze is “fed up” with the liberal leanings of the current Tory leadership, reports the Daily Mail.
Hintze, a Catholic who has helped the Vatican restore valuable art works by Michelangelo, has donated at least £1.2 million to the Conservative Party and given loans of at least £2.5 million more since 2005, according to estimates by the Daily Mail. The paper reports that Hintze is calling in the loans and has thrown his support into UKIP, “just as the party needs a fortune to pay for next year’s General Election.” The report did not specify that Hintze would be switching his financial attention to another party.
Shakespeare quotes “a Tory insider” who said, “Michael is fed up with David Cameron and [Chancellor] George Osborne and doesn’t see why he should prop up the party any longer. He is deeply upset with the party’s promotion of gay marriage; it grates with his Catholicism. And as a tax-cutting free marketeer, he’d hoped to see a more radical economic agenda.”
UKIP warned in 2012 that “gay marriage” is a direct threat to the civil rights of clergy and other religious believers, saying that it would “inevitably” lead to legal action against those who refuse to participate. The rival libertarian party cited the Tory push for “gay marriage” for their unexpected electoral gains in May 2013.
In 2013, before the measure passed, Prime Minister and Tory leader David Cameron was receiving increasingly urgent signals from his own party to drop the issue as they feared it would cost them votes and financial support. A national network of Conservative officials and supporters called Conservative Grassroots, issued a statement in May saying, “The Prime Minister needs to listen to voters and start acting like a Conservative.” The group estimated that the “gay marriage” policy was costing the party three votes for every one it gained.
In November, several other large Tory donors pulled their support of the party and defected to UKIP, which has a policy endorsing same-sex civil unions. The Daily Telegraph reported that among these was Stuart Wheeler, who had donated around £4 million to Cameron’s party. Wheeler is now the treasurer for UKIP and has thus far donated about £300,000 to his new party.
In April the Christian Institute reported that several members of an elite Conservative group of donors who had donated £50,000 a year to the party had also defected to UKIP. Among these was the entrepreneur Adrian Buckley who said he was also disillusioned, adding that Cameron’s “obsession with gay politics is a nonsense.” Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, at that time confirmed that “five or six” former members of this group are now contributing to UKIP.