Green energy tycoon ordered to tell wife if he donates to Labour Party

Former Just Stop Oil backer Dale Vince at a protest in London
Former Just Stop Oil backer Dale Vince at a protest in London - Aaron Chown/PA

A green energy tycoon has been ordered by a High Court judge to inform his wife before he donates any more money to the Labour Party.

Dale Vince, who previously provided financial backing to climate activist group Just Stop Oil, plans to donate £5 million to Sir Keir Starmer’s election campaign.

Lawyers acting for his second wife Kate, told the High Court during the couple’s divorce proceedings that Mr Vince had kept her “in the dark” about his plans to donate to the opposition party using shared assets, the Financial Times reports.

Barrister Richard Todd told the court earlier this week: “This lack of visibility is quite frankly appalling.

“That money is being disposed of and it’s being kept invisible from us.”

Born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, Mr Vince left school with no qualifications.

He went on to found energy firm Ecotricity in 1995 and now has an estimated fortune of £100 million.

Mr Vince, now 62, used to be a major backer for Just Stop Oil, the group which has carried out multiple stunts at sporting events, on major roads and in public galleries.

Donations to be disclosed publicly

In October last year, he announced that he would no longer be funding the group and would instead be funnelling money towards Labour ahead of the next election.

Over the past decade, he has already given the party £2.4 million through his energy firm.

Yet in court, Mr Justice Cusworth, who is presiding over Mr Vince’s divorce case, ordered him to give his wife written notice of any intention to make a donation.

The judge confirmed he would be making a “notice provision” to ensure Ms Vince was kept informed of any donations - but this would not restrict the businessman from making any funding decisions.

Simon Bruce, Ms Vince’s solicitor, suggested that an application could be made to stop the tycoon from donating “what we don’t want him to donate”.

Lewis Marks, who is representing Mr Vince, said his client had made his intention to donate £5 million to Labour clear and that he would be disclosing any donations in public “as he always does”.

He added: “If the wife thinks she can get an injunction to restrain him [from funding the Labour Party]...then she should make that application.”

Mr Vince met Kate Vince in the Nineties when she was working for Ecotricity.