As rank-and-file Tory members conspire to finally oust Theresa May from No. 10, the party is facing a donor rebellion that will restrict its ability to campaign during the upcoming EU Parliamentary vote, and also leave it in a difficult position if the opposition succeeds in its push for a general election.
Donors from the business community, who in the past have been a significant source of financing for the Tories, are abandoning the party and instead donating to either campaigns for a second Brexit referendum, or Nigel Farage's Brexit Party (which is leading the Tories in the EU Parliament elections polls) or Boris Johnson's leadership campaign, according to Business Insider.
The shortage of funds has reportedly left the Tories with just £1.5 million ($2 million) in the bank.
The situation has grown so dire that the CEO of the party, Mick Davis, has reportedly been forced to dip into his own pockets to cover some of the costs of the upcoming EU Parliamentary vote. He has reportedly told MPs that supporters have refused to donate because of the infighting over Brexit, which has threatened to tear the party apart.
"There’s a lot of money sloshing around, but most of it isn’t going to the Conservatives," said one source who spoke with BI. "The conservative party is struggling because people don't think they're delivering on their promises," another said.
The support for another referendum comes as Labour has reportedly re-committed to supporting a second referendum if they can't secure a general election.
"Donors have identified other vehicles for their particular cause. If you’re a hedge fund manager who’s a keen Brexiteer, you will donate to Boris’s campaign. If you’re a business which backs a second referendum, you will donate to Right to Vote."
The new Tory-backed referendum campaign, "Right to Vote", has poured money into polling showing overwhelming support for another referendum. It has also been running ads in local media. It had reportedly spent £40,000 ($45,000) during its first month.
Right to Vote CEO Mark Holdsworth said the public is tired of being told "half-truths" by politicians who have so far failed to deliver on the promise of the Brexit referendum.
“Right to Vote was formed in January this year by a group of centre, centre-right parliamentarians looking to set out a clear way forward for the country."
"Then as now, the public is sick and tired of politicians on all sides telling them half-truths – and in some cases, blatant untruths – about Brexit, and we have campaigned for the last three months to seek a final say in the Brexit process."
"This has involved an on-going campaign across TV, radio, newspapers, online and social media, together with regional campaigning on the ground."
"Since we formed, our group is now cross-party, after Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry famously quit the Conservative party to join Change UK – but what unites them all is their, and our, desire to offer the public a final say on Brexit."
One donor who recently defected from the conservatives said that while he's 'still a conservative;' he doesn't want to donate now because the party's pro-hard-Brexit stance is 'anti-business', he said.
One donor to the campaign, City Pub Group chairman Clive Watson, which operates 44 sites across England and Wales, told Business Insider that he has donated £35,000 in a personal capacity, having previously donated £25,000 to the Conservative party through his business.
"I am still a Conservative party member, but I wouldn’t donate at the moment because I think their European stance is anti-business," he told Business Insider.
"Brexit is the unknown. It could seriously dislocate supplies to the hospitality industry. Why would I donate to a party that is facilitating that situation?"