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Tory Donor Nick Candy Backs Change of UK Leadership to Labour

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(Bloomberg) — UK property tycoon and Conservative Party donor Nick Candy signaled that he’d back a change of government to Labour, praising leader Keir Starmer’s business ties and criticizing Tory infighting.

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Candy, in comments to Bloomberg’s In the City podcast that will likely be a seen as a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said it’s “probably time for a change” in the country’s leadership. He said Starmer is “a decent man with good values and good morals,” even if “we still don’t know the Labour policies.”

The entrepreneur is best known for working alongside brother Christian to create One Hyde Park, a residential development in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge district that’s home to some of the world’s richest people.

Candy donated £100,000 ($126,000) to the Tory party in March 2020, when Boris Johnson was prime minister. He endorsed Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey in 2021, and appeared at the launch of the Popular Conservatism caucus earlier this week alongside former premier Liz Truss, accompanied by his wife, pop star Holly Valance.

Candy said while he is “naturally a Tory,” he voted for Tony Blair. The level of “infighting” in the Conservative Party recently has led him to think “it’s probably time for a change,” he said, citing reports that right-wingers were plotting to remove Sunak and replace him with Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch before the election.

“When Jeremy Corbyn looked like he was coming in power last time I was ready to leave the UK. I wired all my money out the UK ready to leave just in case he did come in,” Candy said, referring to the left-winger who was Starmer’s predecessor as Labour leader. “I think people are less worried this time because Keir Starmer is not Jeremy Corbyn.”

Still, Candy did express doubts about Labour’s policy platform, particularly over whether the party would introduce a wealth tax, even though Shadow Chancellor of the Exhequer Rachel Reeves has ruled that out, and its proposed tax on private schooling.

“I went to a private school, but my parents often couldn’t afford to pay for me to go to a private school, so my grandma paid the school fees,” Candy said. “An extra 20 percent on the VAT would have been a lot for my grandma, probably not affordable.”

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