A multi-millionaire green energy businessman refused to invest in an eco-friendly version of Netflix because the project was backed by Stanley Johnson, the Prime Minister’s father.
Dale Vince turned down the chance to work with Ecostreamz, an online streaming platform for environmental filmmakers, because he felt its honorary ambassador had been “dishonest” about his lockdown trip to Greece.
The industrialist, who owns Ecotricity, also questioned Boris Johnson’s father’s “eco-credentials”.
Mr Johnson, 79, was criticised earlier this month for going to his holiday home in Greece. He was recently appointed honorary ambassador to Ecostreamz, a subscription-based online channel featuring environmental documentaries.
In documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Vince, 58, was invited to help “shape” the company, set up by the British conservationist and tropical field biologist Ian Redmond, by investing £100,000.
At first Mr Dale, who spent 10 years as a New Age traveller before launching the UK’s first green electricity company, said the scheme appeared “interesting”.
When it was suggested Mr Johnson could help boost the scheme, Mr Vince replied: “Stanley Johnson…? Is he like a draw?”
Mr Redmond explained how “long before his reality TV fame” – a reference to Mr Johnson’s appearance on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here” – he had helped “craft much of the EU environmental legislation” when an MEP, as well as worked for an animal charity and marched with Extinction Rebellion.
He added: “He’s quite well known in the corridors of Westminster too.”
Mr Dale responded: “Lot’s I don’t know about Stanley Johnson. But I did see him flout travel restrictions to have a holiday in Greece and give what appears a dishonest explanation for that.”
Earlier this month, Mr Johnson apparently breached Government guidelines by travelling to Greece to “Covid-proof” his £2,100 a week villa.
He claimed his trip at the height of lockdown was “essential business”, despite there being no rules in Greece compelling landlords to “Covid-proof” homes for letting. There was also a ban on direct flights to the country, and it is understood he had travelled via Bulgaria.
The trip proved embarrassing for the Prime Minister, already reeling from the widespread public outrage after his No 10 adviser, Dominic Cummings, travelled to his family’s home in Durham.
The leaked documents show Mr Vince concluded: “Greece doesn’t have Covid guidelines for holiday homes… that’s problematic.
Last night, Mr Vince, who is also chairman of the Gloucestershire-based, Forest Green Rovers – the world’s only vegan football club, stood by his comments adding that Ecostreamz was “pimping” Mr Johnson out to encourage investment.
He added: “It’s ironic to me that in rejecting this company I discover that it’s not just Mr Johnson who apparently can’t be trusted – Ecostreamz seemingly as a whole cannot be. The Greece trip crystalised my decision.
“Someone leaked that private discussion and that was enough for me.”
Mr Redmond, 66, said he was disappointed Mr Vince had pulled out, adding that he rejected any suggestion his company was responsible for leaking any documents or that it could not be trusted.
“Our hashtag is ‘Truth Empowered’. The company has been set up for public good and seeks to inform the public and through a schools sponsorship programme scheme it will inform the next generation of leaders and conservationists. The whole point is about telling the truth.
“This is to my mind an unfortunate distraction to the whole main mission of Ecostreamz.”
Asked about Mr Dale’s decision not to invest, Stanley Johnson said: “I’m extremely sorry Mr Vince takes that view because I do think Ecostreamz is a good initiative. I’m sorry he used my link to the company not to invest, but I hope he will reconsider.”