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Sword In The Stone? Gawain's More A Fly In The Reform Ointment...

Watching the video of Richard Tice bemoaning his party coming last in Rochdale, it was the vision of the Hitler clone by his side that prompted a ‘who on earth is that?’

It turned out to be Tice’s sidekick Gawain Towler, who apart from causing his boss to lose face as well as his deposit, could cause the charity he works for to lose its charitable status for misconduct, following complaints to the Charity Commission.

Aside from candidate Simon Danczuk looking a complete fool after coming a humiliating last, Towler and his boss Richard Tice could be in line for a severe ticking off from the Charity Commission…

Gawain, you see (yes, seriously Gawain!) works for the aptly named ‘Museum of Brexit’ (MOB) charity, Charity number: 1193259.

The Charity Commission’s rules clearly state that: ‘Charities must also remain independent and must not give their support to a political party’ – but there was MOB’s media officer Gawain sporting a Reform rosette and lanyard, quite obviously acting as Tice’s assistant/representative, at the count for the Rochdale byelection.

Indeed the phone number given on Reform’s website is that of Towler; as a search of the number displays, it is also the contact number for the MOB charity, as given on their website where his name features prominently as media officer.

A complaint has been lodged with the Charity Commission, which has the power to open a statutory inquiry in cases of misconduct, and to remove an organisation’s charitable status.

It is unclear from the website what MOB – whose sponsors include tat tycoon and former Labour donor John Mills of JML fame – actually does. But what they’re certainly not supposed to do is display affiliation to a particular political party.

Front and centre on the landing page is of course the ‘Donate’ button, which given that the charity’s annual income has dropped from almost £49,000 to £5,000 - from one ‘significant’ donation - in the space of just one year, is perhaps understandable. Surplus income fell from £41,000 to just £1,174 in the same time frame, so it would be optimistic at best to expect the charity to establish the ‘museum’ it claims is coming.

Under ‘Fundraising’ the annual report offers only wordsalad in explanation: ‘The limited approaches to donors this year has been through requiring setting up a large number of dominos for meaningful conversations to be had with gatekeepers, and which has been frustrating when delays have arisen. Nevertheless the charity is now positioned for multiple high value approaches in the next year’

As well as his ‘work’ with UKIP, MOB and later the Reform Party, Towler’s LinkedIn profile names him as the founder of ‘CWC Strategy’, described as ‘a leading crisis communications and political strategy firm’ where he claims to have worked for more than eight years.

‘Crisis communications’? They’re going to be busy. Tice might want to look elsewhere for the ‘political strategy’ part.

A search of Companies House does not yield any information whatsoever about said ‘leading’ company, despite its LinkedIn page asserting that it has 2-10 employees and has been operating since 2017. A Google search reveals little more, except for Towler’s statement that the company exists.

The Charity Commission identifies and investigates apparent misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of charities and works to resolve issues of concern.


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