Shropshire Star

'We need a very strong Labour Government': Local billionaire businessman switches from Tories

A billionaire living on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border who previously donated £500,000 to the Conservatives has said he will be voting for Labour – and encourages others to do the same.

Last updated

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

John Caudwell, founder of Phones4U, was one of the biggest donors to the Tories ahead of the 2019 general election, when he gave half a million pounds to Boris Johnson's campaign.

Mr Caudwell, from Eccleshall, said he was "amazed by how Keir Starmer has transformed the Labour Party and brought it back from that Corbyn brink."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was "delighted" that Mr Caudwell had "thrown his support behind the changed Labour Party".

He said: "The message is clear: business backs change and economic stability with Labour, and rejects five more years of chaos and decline with the Tories.

"John was not just a Conservative voter but a substantial donor to the Conservative Party in 2019 – so it's not a decision that he will have taken lightly.

"But it's clear that he shares my plan for growth that I set out in the Labour manifesto.

"I'm campaigning non stop between now and 4 July to win the votes of other people who have backed the Tories in the past but see change with Labour as the best future for Britain."

John Caudwell has revealed he has switched his support to Labour.

Mr Caudwell said he had supported the Conservatives for 51 years but had been "despairing" about their performance for many years.

He said: "Only five years ago, I donated half a million to the Conservatives to help avert the disaster that would have been Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

"But I've been increasingly critical of Tory failures since then, particularly over Rishi's mismanagement of the economy during Covid, Boris' lowering of ethical standards and, of course, associated with that the accusation that Tory cronies benefited improperly regarding Covid PPE – and then the Liz Truss debacle.

"Over the last two years especially, I have been amazed by how Keir Starmer has transformed the Labour Party and brought it back from that Corbyn brink.

"As I have always said, the Government must be much more commercially minded to grow GDP in order to finance the public services that benefit all of society without increasing taxes.

"When Labour launched its manifesto last Thursday, I was delighted to see that accelerating economic growth was front and centre, and that projected growth is clearly tied into making Britain a clean energy superpower.

"So, I can declare publicly that I will vote for Labour, and I encourage everybody to do the same.

"We need a very strong Labour government that can take extremely bold decisions and you can rest assured that I will be doing my best to influence them wherever I can, in putting the great back in Britain."