INTERNATIONAL Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has announced that a firm owned by a Tory donor will receive £26 million in government-backed funding.

Green transport company Wrightbus, owned by Conservative donor Jo Bamford, is set to receive an 80% guarantee on its major financing deal with Barclays from government body UK Export Finance (UKEF).

The guarantee is on an £18 million green trade loan and an £8 million green bank guarantee.

The Government says that the money will help the firm “export its cutting-edge zero-emission buses to new export markets”.

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However, concerns have been raised that there could be a conflict of interest in the UK’s backing for Wrightbus.

The Byline Times reports that Bamford, who owns the company, has given around £75,000 to the Tory party since 2019 - while his family, worth an estimated £4.3 billion according to the Sunday Times, has donated more than £12 million in recent years both personally and through corporate interests.

Bamford’s father also donated to the Vote Leave campaign and financially supported Boris Johnson’s 2019 Tory leadership bid.

There is no evidence or suggestion of malpractice on the part of the family or the firm, as there is no proof that either used connections to the Conservative Party to secure the government-backed funding.

There was also no declaration of a potential conflict of interest from the Government when the funding announcement was made.

A UKEF spokesperson said: “UKEF makes decisions on an apolitical basis and its decision to provide support for WrightBus was based on objective criteria in the normal way.”

Commenting on the news, a Scottish Greens spokesperson said that "it seems whenever there are large sums of public money being spent" there are also "Tory donors waiting in the wings to take it".

They added: "It is right that these contracts are fully scrutinised and that all conflicts of interest are declared publicly.

"With all of the sleaze, lies and dodgy deals that we have seen under this government, there will always be questions about any contract that goes to a prominent Tory donor."

Commenting on the funding announcement, Badenoch said: "It’s fantastic to see Great British companies like Wrightbus take full advantage of the opportunities exporting opens up. By expanding into new markets, building on wins secured from our UK-Australia trade deal, and this new UKEF-backed support, they are driving growth and creating high-skilled green jobs in Northern Ireland.

"I am proud the Government is supporting British firms to go further, exporting their cutting-edge clean technology to new markets, cutting emissions and boosting jobs across the United Kingdom."

Wrightbus has been contacted for comment.