A Possible Useful Resource: Colin Challen’s Book on Tory Funding

The parapolitical magazine, Lobster, carried a short review in its winter 1998/99 edition of Colin Challen’s book, The Price of Power: The Secret Funding of the Tory Party (London: Vision Paperbacks 1998), £7.99. Challen had contributed articles to the magazine on the subject of the Tories’ highly murky finances. The review states that there are far more sources for the Thatcher and post-Thatcher years, despite the fact that Thatcher tried to keep anything to do with the intelligence services and the connections to the Conservatives strictly under wraps. She was unable to cover it all up simply because there was a general, rapid increase of knowledge in those areas while she was in power. According to the article, Challen identified the links between the Conservative party, the City and the intelligence services as the triangle of power at the heart of the British system. The review also notes that while there is less material available on the funding of the Tory party before her, nevertheless there is a surprising amount of information present. Despite this, the review noted that at least half of the Conservative party’s recent financial sources remain secret.

Challen originally worked for the Labour Party, and I’ve got a feeling he left for the Lib Dems when he found Tony Blair adopting the same authoritarianism and contempt for human rights. The Lobster review considers that with Labour adopting the same methods of fund-raising as the Tories, a similar book would one day be necessary for them. The review also states that the book is the only one yet published on the subject. It would be interesting to see if this was still true after fifteen years. I suspect it probably is. The situation made have changes slightly in the intervening period, but I would imagine that the picture of the Tory party’s finances is still pretty much the same. In the absence of later books analysing the Tories and their dodgy finances, this may still be an extremely useful resource.


The Price of Power: The Secret Funding of the Tory Party, Colin Challen, in Lobster, Winter 1998/9, 36: 42.

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