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Britain's governing parties to give unusual bequest to Treasury

Aug. 15, 2013 at 1:55 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties said Wednesday a bequest from a retired nurse to whatever party is in power will go to the British Treasury.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who made the announcement for the Conservatives, said the party now believes that was what Joan Ewards intended in her unusual will, The Guardian reported. Edwards bequeathed 520,000 pounds ($806,000) to "whichever government is in office at the date of my death."

Edwards, who lived in a modest house in the Fishponds section of Bristol, made her will in 1991. She left no money to anyone else, only ensuring there would be adequate payment for cremation.

The contents of her will became public this week along with the announcement the money would be portioned between the two parties in the governing coalition based on the number of seats each holds in Parliament. That set off an avalanche of criticism.

Kerry McCarthy, the Labor member of Parliament for Bristol East, said she did not believe her late constituent wanted her money to be spent on campaign expenses.

"I can only assume that greed blinded them to the questions that should have been asked," she said.

Lucy Sanders, who lived next door to Edwards, said she would have been horrified by the publicity.

"She was an old-fashioned sort of woman, I'd say Victorian is the best way to describe her. She did everything properly. She was lovely: thoughtful, upstanding. She just got on with living her honest, frugal life," Sanders said.

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