Constitutional Research Council

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The Constitutional Research Council (CRC) is a Unionist funding organisation, chaired by Scottish Conservative Richard Cook. It helped to fund the anti-independence Better Together campaign during the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 and the DUP’s Leave campaign in Northern Ireland, and in mainland Britain, during the Brexit referendum in 2016.[1]

The CRC has also funded the European Research Group and its chairman, the Brexit minister Steve Baker.[2]

The CRC has no website, publishes no accounts and does not reveal the names of its donors. The only office-holder to be made public is the chairman Richard Cook, a former vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, parliamentary candidate in Glasgow Cathcart in 2003 and at the 2005 by-election, and a supporter of the Freedom Association.[3] Cook has had business connections with Prince Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the former Saudi minister for finance, government spokesman, diplomat and head of intelligence, and the Danish arms dealer Peter Haestrup who has been linked to a gun running case in West Bengal described by Indian authorities as “the biggest crime in the country's history".[4]

According to Cook, the CRC are prepared to help fund the anti-independence campaign during the proposed second Scottish independence referendum.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ramsay, Adam; Geoghegan, Peter (16 October 2017). "Mystery deepens over secret source of Brexit 'dark money'". openDemocracyUK. London: openDemocracy. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  2. ^ Doward, Jamie (1 July 2017). "Brexit minister linked to group that used loophole to channel £435,000 to DUP". The Observer. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  3. ^ Hutcheon, Paul (21 May 2017). "Richard Cook: chair of the shadowy Constitutional Research Council talks to the Sunday Herald". Sunday Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  4. ^ O’Toole, Fintan (16 May 2017). "What connects Brexit, the DUP, dark money and a Saudi prince?". The Irish Times. Dublin. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  5. ^ Johnson, Simon (5 March 2017). "Business leaders 'ready to donate six-figure sums to save UK' in second Scottish referendum". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 October 2017.