Housing minister Brandon Lewis receives £10,000 donation from Russian wind farm oligarch

A Russian oligarch has donated £10,000 to Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis.

Alexander Temerko’s largesse to the MP came via his company Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN), which specialises in offshore wind, and gas and oil platforms.

Mr Lewis, who took up the housing brief in July, is an enthusiast of renewable energy. His housing minister predecessor Kris Hopkins is responsible for offshore wind farm developments.

On his website, the MP is critical of inland wind farm developments but supportive of sea-based schemes.

Over the next 20 years, an ‘enterprise zone’ covering six sites in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft will see more than £50 billion invested in various areas including ‘Round 3 offshore wind farms’.

Mr Temerko, who paid £90,000 for a bust of Prime Minister David Cameron at the Tory party’s 2013 summer party, saw his wind farm firm receive £4.5 million out of the Department for Business’s regional growth fund at the end of 2012.

As of July this year, Temerko had personally donated £259,230 to the Conservative party, while OGN had donated £185,325.

The oligarch, who Russia tried to extradite on fraud charges connected with his former firm Yukos, has said that he does not expect anything back from the Tory party for his financial gifts.

Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins said: “Inappropriate wind turbines can be a blot on the landscape, harming the local environment and damaging heritage for miles around.

“We make no apologies for changing planning guidance to ensure that these issues are properly taken into account. Every appeal is considered with due process on its individual merits, based on the particular circumstances of the case.”