Tory minister faces questions over landlord donor

From the Morning Star: Tory Scottish Secretary David Mundell has trousered almost £40,000 in donations from a Singapore-based businessman who hailed the last recession as a “massive wealth-building opportunity in disguise”.

Mundell is facing questions after he provided property magnate Brian Gillies with a business reference which praised his “integrity and personal probity.”

Three companies linked to Mr Gillies, a wealthy Scot who relocated to the Far East, have donated £38,500 to Mr Mundell’s office and local Conservative association since 2011.

In an interview with the Scotsman’s business section in 2009, Mr Gillies said: “A recession is a massive wealth-building opportunity in disguise. What you can do now is take advantage of a market where you can buy the properties you want to buy and you can buy them very cheaply.”

Labour shadow Scotland secretary Lesley Laird branded Mr Gillies’s comments “absolutely sickening.”

In a reference published on business website GlobalEye, Mr Mundell said: “I have known [Mr Gillies] personally for three years and I have found him to be a person of the highest integrity and personal probity.” Mr Mundell said Mr Gillies had “a significant involvement with the Conservative Party”.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]