The money man behind a new ‘young conservatives’ movement targeting British universities is a devout Vladimir Putin supporter who wants closer ties with Russia.
Turning Point UK is a US-backed campaign to counter Left-wing dominance on campuses, set up by supporters of Donald Trump on both sides of the Atlantic.
But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that its leading fundraiser, John Mappin, is a millionaire Kremlin cheerleader.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on Friday
Turning Point UK is a US-backed campaign to counter Left-wing dominance on campuses, set up by supporters of Donald Trump on both sides of the Atlantic
Mr Mappin, who owns Cornish three-star resort Camelot Castle and is a practising Scientologist, regularly uses Twitter to urge closer ties with the Kremlin, saying ‘being friends with Putin is very smart. We love him’.
The jewellery heir also publicly questioned the Government’s account of the Salisbury Novichok attack, parroting Kremlin talking points on the outrage.
The group launched with a lavish drinks party in London’s clubland and has since received backing from leading Brexiteers including Jacob Rees-Mogg – but critics have branded it ‘hard-Right’.
Tory MP Bob Seely said: ‘I would be wary of having support from anyone who pledges support for an authoritarian Russian regime.
‘We have to start being careful again about where money in our political system is coming from.’
But last night Mr Mappin insisted his views on Russia and Putin had ‘absolutely no connection to Turning Point UK’.