Energy minister and West Suffolk Tory candidate, Matthew Hancock, accepts £18,000 donation from climate change sceptic

West Suffolk Tory candidate Matthew Hancock

West Suffolk Tory candidate Matthew Hancock - Credit: Archant

West Suffolk Conservative candidate and energy minister Matthew Hancock has defended accepting £18,000 from a climate change sceptic.

Mr Hancock, minister of state for energy and climate change, received the money from Neil Record, a key backer of leading climate sceptic lobby group, Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

The most recent donation, according to The Electoral Commission, was for £4,000 on November 26, last year.

Last night a spokeswoman for Mr Hancock, who is also minister of state for business, innovation and skills, issued a short statement. It said: “All donations are declared publicly and a proper process is followed.”

From and including in 2011, Mr Hancock accepted £4,000 annually from Mr Record – coming on top of a £2,000 donation from Mr Record in 2010.

He is the only MP to have accepted a donation from Mr Record who has also, since 2008, given around £340,000 to the Conservative party, according to the Electoral Commission.

Mr Record is one of three board members of GWPF, whose chairman is former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson.

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The GWPF states it is regarded as “one of the world’s leading think tanks on global warming”.

It campaigns for “more balanced and more transparent” assessments of climate science and policy research at a time when there is a “growing concern” about the integrity of climate scientists and the “maltreatment” of sceptical researchers.

Earlier this month Mr Hancock was criticised for reportedly hiring a private jet from Aberdeen to London following a climate change deal with the Mexican president.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the chartered flight was needed as it fitted in with “diary commitments”.