A millionaire businessman has stated there is nothing personal about his decision to back the political opponents of his former business partner.
Martin Webb, a former business |partner of Tory MP Simon Kirby, was named in local media reports last week as having given £2,000 to the Labour Party in July last year.
And the donation was in addition to a previous political gift of £1,500.
But Mr Webb said that far from funding a rivalry with his former business partner, he had deliberately avoided directly funding Mr Kirby’s electoral opponent Nancy Platts.
He told The Argus: “The whole time we worked together we had two different political beliefs. He was a Tory councillor and I have always been a different side but that never was a factor in our business partnership. I have deliberately not given in support of the person standing against Simon but I am happy to back Peter Kyle in Hove.
“I see Simon for beers on a regular basis and we talk about many things and when we discuss politics we might have a robust conversation but we will always respect each other’s opinion and that’s the way it should be.”
Mr Webb made his fortune from the sale of the retail and leisure company C-Side, which he founded with Mr Kirby for £15 million in 2001.
The businessman, who currently owns a string of successful pubs in the city, including the Stoneham, the Connaught and the Robin Hood, said he was looking at adding other pubs in the city to his portfolio but had no concrete offers in at the moment.
He added he hoped to build his current pub company to a similar size as C-side, which at its peak owned 31 establishments in the city, including a string of seafront clubs.
The former presenter of Channel 4’s Risking It All said he was surprised the focus on political spending had fallen on him when he was far from the only businessman backing political parties in the city and far from the biggest donor.