In the 2012 election, I was rightly asked to disclose my funding as an Independent candidate. Before I am asked in this election, I thought it only right and proper that I disclose how my campaign is funded, in keeping with my national award for transparency.
As an Independent candidate, I have no sources of funding or a huge team of supporters, like the party political organisations. Without a sponsor, I wouldn’t be able to compete against the political parties. This is a pan Dorset election, covering over 350,000 houses, 750,000 people and a 1000 square miles.
As in 2012, I am supported by Mr Constantine, who has this time donated £30,000 from his personal funds to help me keep policing independent of party political influences in Dorset.
I had never met Mr Constantine before he donated £15,000 to my campaign in 2012, and true to his word, he has never asked for anything from me since my election.
Together, we have both lobbied on two national issues, that of securing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit, and that of challenging the appalling actions of the Special Demonstration Squad in the Metropolitan Police. I have lobbied because I feel strongly on both issues, not because Mr Constantine asked me to, indeed recent events have shown that he and I do not always agree on issues.
While I know that some people will be surprised to learn that I am funded by a private individual, I’d like to highlight some facts to put the donation into perspective.
The Government have yet again failed to advertise this election; most people have no idea it is happening, which could result in another low turnout.
The Government have yet again refused to fund a mailshot for candidates in the election. This is a huge disadvantage to Independent candidates. It costs over £22,000 to print and deliver a leaflet to every house in Dorset, something the political parties find much easier to achieve, through their army of supporters walking the streets.
I have no party to support me, and I am not wealthy. If Mr Constantine had not stepped forward, the reality is that I would not have been able to stand.
My main competition is clearly the Conservative Party. Dorset is a “target seat” for them, they will be investing a similar amount donated by their supporters and Central Office.
Using a philanthropist, such as Mr Constantine, who, with his wife Mo and other founders of Lush, donate over £5m a year to worthy causes, does not mean I am beholding to him. He has not asked for anything in the last four years, and will not do so again in the future.
Mr Constantine believes in me, saying: “I back Martyn because he is the right candidate for the job. He is hard working, compassionate and believes in caring for minority groups and animals”.
“I am proud to know Mr Constantine, and I thank him for his support, which levels the playing field against the party political teams, they receive huge donations too”
I have no other substantial backers.
Other, much smaller, donations have come from my friends or supporters.
All donations will be formally declared after the election.
Thanks for reading this,