Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 17:11 UK

Ex-Tory donor launches Trust Party on expenses pledge

Stuart Wheeler
Mr Wheeler wants Parliament to be able to jail MPs who abuse expense

A multi-millionaire former Conservative donor has said he is forming a new political party to fight the election on an anti-corruption platform.

Spread-betting tycoon Stuart Wheeler was expelled by the Tories last year after he donated £100,000 to UKIP.

He says his new Trust Party would "clean up" Westminster in the wake of the expenses scandal.

He will stand in Bexhill and Battle in Sussex, and says he hopes to field at least two more candidates elsewhere.

Mr Wheeler's announcement came shortly after new rules for MPs' expenses were announced.

They include a ban on taxpayer-funded second homes and an end to cleaning and gardening claims. Some have criticised the reforms, however, because MPs will still be able to employ relatives.

Trust 'destroyed'

Mr Wheeler, an outspoken Eurosceptic, gave £5m to the Conservatives in 2001, but was expelled after donating money to the UK Independence Party.

Launching his new party on Monday, he said: "The biggest problem facing politics in Britain today is the lack of trust in politicians. It has been destroyed by the MPs' expenses scandal.

"When I decided to stand for Parliament and to establish a new party to campaign on this issue, it seemed obvious that we should call it the Trust Party."

Among Mr Wheeler's proposals is the introduction of a Parliamentary court with the power to jail any MPs who fiddle their expenses.

I'm not here to be prime minister, I'm here solely to make a point
Stuart Wheeler

He will run against Conservative frontbencher and climate change spokesman Greg Barker for the Bexhill and Battle seat.

The party's second candidate, Douglas Taylor, will stand against Scottish National Party MP Pete Wishart.

It is understood Mr Wheeler is also hoping to field another candidate in Wales.

He added: "I'm not here to be prime minister, I'm here solely to make a point, which is that the people have not had their say on the expenses scandal, and nor can they when the only choice they are offered is between equally tainted, equally shameless parties.

"This scandal is not going to be solved by the people who caused it."

Mr Wheeler worked as a barrister before setting up IG Index in 1974. The company allowed UK residents to speculate on the price of gold at a time when exchange controls prevented them from buying it, except at a premium.

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