THE Conservatives have received millions of pounds in donations from climate deniers and those with interests in the fossil fuel industry ahead of backing a raft of new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

During a visit to Shell’s St Fergus Gas Plant in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, on Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisted that granting more than a hundred new licences is “entirely consistent” with the UK’s net zero commitments.

The news sparked outrage from environmental campaigners who accused the ruling party of “blatant climate denial”.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak loses it with BBC Scotland presenter in 'car crash' interview

It comes as the Tories moved to water down their net zero commitments, while some MPs urged a re-think of the UK’s climate targets.

Following the announcement, The National has pulled together a list of the top Tory donors with links to climate change denial, pollution, and fossil fuel interests.

Fossil fuel firms and polluters

Christopher Harborne

In 2022, aviation entrepreneur Harborne gave the Tories £1,515,000 through four donations. He also previously gave the party £50,000 in 2018 and £120,394 between 2003 and 2006. Harborne, the owner of aviation fuel supplier AML Global, was the largest donor to the Tories last year.

He is also the CEO of Sherriff Global Group, which trades in private jets, a donor to the Brexit Party, and previously gifted Tory MP Steve Baker, who leads the anti-net zero group in parliament, a £2000 ticket to the Tory party’s summer ball in 2022.

Emissions from aviation are a significant contributor to climate change as they burn fossil fuels, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.

The National:

Centrax Industries Ltd

Between November 2020 and March 2023, Centrax, a firm that manufactures gas turbines, has donated £120,000 to the Tories. On 24 separate occasions, the firm gave £5000 to the party over three years.

Amjad Bseisu

CEO of EnQuest, an oil and gas company operating in the North Sea, Bseisu has given the Tories £480,721.40 since 2013 through 52 individual donations. The amounts of the donations varied with the highest over £20,000.

Previously, Bseisu has argued that the oil and gas industry should not give up on the search for new reserves in the North Sea.

The National: Lord Anthony Bamford, left, chairman of JCBLord Anthony Bamford, left, chairman of JCB (Image: PA)

The Bamfords

One of Boris Johnson’s biggest supporters, who gave the disgraced former prime minister thousands of pounds after he left office. The Bamford family, who own construction equipment firm JCB, have also donated millions to the Tory party.

In March 2022 Mark Bamford gave a donation of £973,000 to the Tories, while JC Bamford Excavators Ltd have given over £4m to the Tories since 2004.

This does not include donations by individual family members or other JCB-affiliated companies, such as JCB research - which has given £4.1m to the party since 2003.

The construction sector and built environment account for 38% of global carbon emissions.

Alasdair Locke

The chair of Motor Fuel Group, Locke gave £38,500 to the Tories' Moray branch through four donations between 2001 and 2021, the largest being a £25,000 donation in 2021. Motor Fuel Group owns more than 900 petrol stations in the UK.

Locke also donated £20,000 to Douglas Ross in July 2020, shortly before he took over as Scottish Tory party leader from Jackson Carlaw. Locke previously told The Ferret that he was “far from being a climate sceptic” and is a firm believer in the need to achieve net zero, adding that his donation had “no connection” with his business interests and that he did not seek to influence the party’s policy.

READ MORE: UK must 'max out' North Sea oil and gas to go green, minister claims

Lord Michael Farmer

Baron Farmer, a former Tory party treasurer, has given £4.9m to the Tories between 2012 and 2022. He also gave more than £23,000 to Rishi Sunak’s leadership campaign. Farmer is a founder of the multi-billion pound Red Kite metals hedge fund and one of the world’s most famous metal traders.

His register of interest for the House of Lords also shows he has shares in Royal Dutch Shell and BP.

Climate change deniers

Sir Michael Hintze

Billionaire Hintze was made a member of the House of Lords by Boris Johnson in 2022, and is a major backer and donor to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), an organisation which denies climate science. The GWFP describes itself as a think tank whose aims are to challenge what it calls "extremely damaging and harmful policies" to mitigate global warming.

Sir Hintze (pictured below) gave £2,771,718 to the Tories between 2011 and 2023. Hintze also gave over £1.9m to the Tories between 2002 and 2018 registered under Mr Michael Hintze and Michael Hintze, including donations to Boris Johnson’s local Tory branch in Uxbridge and South Ruislip ahead of the 2019 General Election. The GWPF is based at 55 Tufton Street in London.

The National:

Neil Record

Chair of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the campaigning arm of the GWPF, Record has given £439,300 to the Tories between 2008 and 2023.

Record gave £3000 to the Tories' Perth and Kinross branch in 2017, as well as £2000 to Tory MP John Lamont’s Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk branch. Record has also donated to a number of small party groups in the north of England, Wales and the Central Party.

Record, who has also donated to former health secretary Matt Hancock, is also the chairman of the libertarian think tank the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA).

This article originally described Hintze as a founder of the GWPF, instead, he is a major donor to the climate sceptic think tank.