New Delhi: Five months after he was seen excitedly jumping on the driver’s seat of a bulldozer at a JCB factory in Gujarat’s Panchmahal, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been revealed to have received a £23,853 (Rs 21.83 lakh) donation for his wedding party expenses from the chairperson of the construction equipment company.
JCB chairman Anthony Bamford covered the costs of hiring a marquee, a South African barbeque, portable toilets, waiting staff, flowers and an ice cream van at the wedding celebration, according to disclosure statements made by the former prime minister.
Bamford, the head of one of the UK’s most successful family-owned businesses, has been a major donor to the UK Conservative Party. He is said to be worth £4.32 billion as per last year’s Sunday Times Rich List. Bamford and his family have reportedly donated almost £10 million in political donations since 2001.
Johnson and his wife Carrie Symonds had initially married in a secret ceremony at the Westminster Cathedral in London, in May 2021.
Bamford’s latest donation to Johnson was spent on the couple’s wedding celebration in July this year, according to the reports.
On 21 April, while on an official visit to India, Johnson visited the JCB factory in Gujarat, where he could be seen climbing into the driver’s seat of a bulldozer, playing with the wheel and waving out from the side of the vehicle.
Observers, however, were quick to criticise the optics as at the time, the same black-and-yellow JCBs were being used by the BJP municipal corporation in north Delhi to demolish homes, most of which belonged to Muslim families.
Donation spent on marquee, portable toilets
Johnson, who stepped down as prime minister earlier this week, declared the donation in the Register of Members’ Interests — an official record maintained by a government body that consists of the financial interests of members of parliament (MPs).
The MPs must declare any additional income — including gifts, donations and shareholdings over 15 per cent — in this register.
According to a report, the party was held at a 1,500-acre estate in the English countryside, at a “Grade I-listed” country house that had an orangery, a heart-shaped orchard, a secret garden and a swimming pool.
(Edited by Theres Sudeep)