Tories accuse Sir Keir Starmer ally David Evans of getting £200,000 in taxpayer contracts from the council where his ex-lover was deputy leader
- Tories accused David Evans of cronyism over six figure taxpayer contracts
- The Campaign Consultancy, owned by Evans, won nearly £200,000 in contracts
- They came from Croydon Council where is ex-lover had been deputy leader
The Campaign Consultancy, owned by David Evans (pictured) – Labour’s general secretary and one of Sir Keir’s closest allies – won a series of taxpayer contracts from Croydon Council that had been advertised as being worth nearly £200,000
Labour rejected Tory claims of cronyism last night after a company owned by Sir Keir Starmer‘s most powerful official won contracts together worth six figures from a council where his former lover holds a top position.
The Campaign Consultancy, owned by David Evans – Labour’s general secretary and one of Sir Keir’s closest allies – won a series of taxpayer contracts from Croydon Council that had been advertised as being worth nearly £200,000.
The contracts, for ‘local engagement’ and ‘policy development’, were awarded between 2014 and 2017 after Alison Butler, his ex-lover and mother of his child, became deputy leader of the council.
When Mr Evans took up the Labour job in May 2020 he relinquished his 90 per cent shareholding in the company, at the same time that his wife, Aline, took up a 75 per cent holding.
A Labour Party spokesman said: ‘These contracts were secured with full propriety after a transparent and robust procurement process, which included competitive tendering.’
The row comes as Sir Keir tries to exploit the David Cameron lobbying scandal as an example of ‘Tory sleaze’ – although it has so far failed to dent Boris Johnson’s double-digit opinion poll lead.
Mr Evans, 60, who fathered a daughter with Ms Butler during a relationship in the 1990s, was credited with helping to run the campaign that won the council for Labour in May 2014. Ms Butler became deputy leader and five months later The Campaign Consultancy won a £130,000 contract from the council, followed by three further deals for a ‘borough-wide engagement exercise to develop asset-based policies for the area that would reduce disadvantage and lack of opportunity’.
Mr Evans, who was an activist during the 1984 miners’ strike, founded the company in 2001. Sir Keir’s chief of staff, Morgan McSweeney, also worked there for two years.
Croydon Council’s growing financial problems have forced it to announce hundreds of job losses and take out a £120 million Government loan to avoid bankruptcy.
Last night, Tory MP Richard Holden said: ‘This reeks of a crony contract with yet another now literally bankrupt Labour council.
The row comes as Sir Keir (pictured) tries to exploit the David Cameron lobbying scandal as an example of ‘Tory sleaze’ – although it has so far failed to dent Boris Johnson’s double-digit opinion poll lead
‘If Sir Keir Starmer wants to look into cronyism, maybe he doesn’t need to look far – he could start by speaking with his own top official and right-hand man at Labour headquarters.’
A Labour source said: ‘This is a pathetic attempt by the Conservatives to distract from the sleaze they have ushered into the heart of Government.
‘Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson should all account for the crony contracts and dodgy deals they’ve dished out to their mates and the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money wasted as a result.’
It is understood that Mr Evans has argued that several different councils have awarded contracts to his company, including Tory-led ones, that Ms Butler had no involvement in the procurement process and the contracts were worth less than the £200,000 advertised.
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