Prince's Trust investigated for 'Tory donation'

Charity Commission probes £10,000 transfer to Conservative affiliated body

The Charity Commission is investigating whether the Prince's Trust broke charity law by transferring £10,000 to an organisation affiliated to the Conservative Party after a joint fundraising event.

The transfer is listed on the Electoral Commission website as a donation to Women2win, which is an affiliated body of the Conservative Party and promotes the election of female Tory MPs.

The commission said it would be "looking into the circumstances surrounding the donation" and had contacted the Prince's Trust for further information.

A spokesman for the trust said it had passed the money to Women2win in line with an agreement to share the proceeds of a fundraising dinner attended by Lady Thatcher two years ago, for which the trust collected the proceeds. He said the Prince's Trust had originally been given only one seat at the event, but a supporter of the charity who also worked with Women2win had obtained more seats on the understanding that it would share the proceeds.

"It was all done in good faith, but the Charity Commission is looking into it and we will go from there," he said. "We have been talking to the commission and they don't think it is a clear breach of the law. It was one naive mistake by an overenthusiastic member of our fundraising team."

A spokeswoman for Women2win said the organisation regularly passed money to the Conservative Party but had used the £10,000 from the Prince's Trust for training. She said the organisation had voluntarily registered with the Electoral Commission and was prepared to pay the £10,000 back to the Prince's Trust if the commission decided it had been an illegal donation.

She said: "The idea was just to help the trust. No one has personally benefited from the fundraising event."

Last December, the Charity Commission opened a formal investigation into after-school charity Catz Club after discovering it had made two separate donations to the Labour Party (Third Sector Online, 19 December 2008).

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