Conservative Friends of the Middle East and North Africa
Conservative Friends of the Middle East and North Africa (COMENA) is a party political organisation established by millionaire businessman Mohamed Amersi and incorporated on 21 January 2021.
Backed by Boris Johnson
According to Mohamed Amersi, the COMENA project was agreed during a dinner with Boris Johnson before he became prime minister in July 2019. Mr Amersi suggested that there was “a vacuum” in Tory interests after the Conservative Middle East Council (CMEC) ended formal affiliation with the party in 2019 to allow CMEC to seek wider funding. However CMEC, which has focused on the Middle East for the past 40 years, denies the claim that there is a vacuum.
The dispute has brought media attention to Conservative Party donations, an issue that was supposed to have been reformed after multiple past controversies. The scrutiny has already led to a spokeswoman for Theresa May confirming that she had agreed to be patron of COMENA but was no longer involved with the organisation. Other Tory grandees understood to be affiliated with the new group have since declined to confirm their commitment to it.
Mr Amersi is also disheartened by events:
- “I sometimes wonder if I was white and my name was John Smith and I had been to Eton and Oxford I might have been treated differently,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
A decision on whether the Conservative Party gives COMENA full affiliation is expected in September 2021. In the light of a string of controversies over party funding, including renovations of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat, it is a decision the party is likely to consider carefully.
|Document:A bitter Middle East crisis at the heart of the Conservative Party||Article||6 August 2021||Peter Oborne||This crisis will not - thank goodness - claim lives as the Iraq War did. But it will damage Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has already found himself involved in a series of sleaze investigations, of which this is the most personally dangerous for him.|