David Cameron publishes list of all donors dining at No 10

 

David Cameron said funding reform was needed

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David Cameron has given details of all Conservative donors who have had dinner with him in his Downing Street flat.

The prime minister said there had been four occasions in which he had invited Conservative supporters to No 10 - most of whom he had known for "many years".

Details of all meals between Conservative donors and ministers will now be published on a quarterly basis.

The PM has promised a thorough inquiry into fundraising after the resignation of Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas.

Mr Cruddas quit after reporters filmed him saying Tory party donors could gain influence at No 10's policy committee and could attend dinners in Mr Cameron's personal flat, above No 11 Downing Street.

The prime minister said the Conservative Party had "robust and sensible" procedures for handling donations but what Mr Cruddas had said was wrong - and that an inquiry would be conducted by Conservative peer and lawyer Lord Gold.

Dinner details

Mr Cameron's announcement that No 10 would release details of private dinners he had had with donors at No 10 came after apparent reluctance to do so and amid growing political pressure.

In a short statement ahead of a speech in London, the prime minister said he had three such dinners in his flat with "significant donors" between February 2011 and February 2012.

Those attending, No 10 has announced, were former Tory treasurer Michael Spencer with his partner, businessman David Rowland - who has given more than £4m to the party since 2009 - and his wife, plus oil executive Ian Taylor and his wife and banker Henry Angest and his wife.

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Could it be that Rupert Murdoch wishes to see the man who set up the Leveson Inquiry go through the same agonisingly painful scrutiny as he has?”

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On a fourth occasion, the PM added, donors were present at a post-election celebration in Downing Street in July 2010.

Among those present were Conservative Party chief executive Andrew Feldman, party donors Lord Sainsbury and Michael Farmer and Murdoch Maclennan, chief executive of the firm which publishes the Daily Telegraph.

"None of these dinners were fundraising dinners or were paid for by the taxpayer," Mr Cameron insisted. "I have known most of those attending for many years."

In future, Mr Cameron said the Conservatives would publish details of all meals with donors, whether at No 10 or Chequers, as well as a register of all meetings with those who have given money.

But he insisted that Mr Cruddas had not instigated any meetings nor had donors influenced any government policy - although he said new safeguards would be introduced in future to ensure this could not happen.

"Let me make clear. No-one in the No 10 policy unit has met anyone at Peter Cruddas' request."

The BBC News Channel's Chief Political correspondent Norman Smith said No 10 was trying to "douse down" the controversy over donations and access to ministers but the opposition were likely to continued to press for an independent inquiry.

Funding offer

Mr Cameron also said there was an "urgent" need for reform of party political funding and he made an offer to other parties to introduce a £50,000 cap on political donations.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has made a statement to Parliament about the affair and the prospect of restarting currently stalled cross-party talks on the future of political funding.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg, in South Korea, said he wanted to see cross-party talks on reform of party political funding to start this week so "we can fix this and fix it for good".

Labour are demanding answers over Mr Cruddas's claims, which were filmed by undercover Sunday Times reporters, came to light over the weekend. The matter has also been reported to the Metropolitan Police.

LARGEST DONATIONS TO CONSERVATIVES IN 2011

  • £382,451 - Peter Cruddas
  • £150,000 - Mark Bamford
  • £150,000 - Jean Parmer
  • £111,000 - Mary Cross
  • £109,200 - Edwin Healey
  • £100,000 - Nicholas Jenkins
  • £100,000 - Alexander Knaster

Source: Electoral Commission

Their leader Ed Miliband - who said Mr Cameron's failure to deliver the Commons statement suggested "he had something to hide" - said the matter could not be "swept under the carpet".

"We need to know what access was paid for, if access was paid for, and what contributions were made and the interaction between the prime minister, the chancellor and Conservative Party donors."

Conservative MP Mark Field said he was pleased the prime minister was "getting on the front foot" but called for a "more comprehensive list" to be released of all people David Cameron meets at No 10.

Mr Cruddas was secretly filmed saying that a donation of £200,000 or £250,000 gave "premier league" access to party leaders, including private dinners with Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne. He also suggested that any such donor could have their feedback on political plans fed back to the party's policy committee.

He was heard initially saying that it was not possible to buy access to the prime minister.

But he then went on to discuss what access different size donations would get.

LARGEST DONATIONS TO CONSERVATIVES IN 2010

  • £1,999,967 - David Rowland
  • £553,000 - Michael Farmer
  • £500,000 - Jonathan Wood
  • £335,000 - Michael Bishop
  • £300,000 - May Makhzoumi
  • £250,000 - Paul Beecroft
  • £250,000 - Mark Bamford
  • £250,000 - Chris Rokos
  • £250,000 - Lord Sainsbury

Source: Electoral Commission

He was speaking to the reporters posing as staff from a fake wealth fund based in Liechtenstein who were interested in doing business in the UK.

He told them: "Two hundred grand to 250 is premier league… what you would get is, when we talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get you at the Cameron/Osborne dinners."

He said they would be able to ask Mr Cameron "practically any question you want" and their views would be relayed to the No 10 policy committee.

In his resignation statement, Mr Cruddas said he regretted "any impression of impropriety" and there was "no question of donors being able to influence policy or gain undue access to politicians".

The Conservative Party currently has several levels of donation, with the top one being the Leader's Group, where for an annual donation of £50,000 donors can be invited to join Mr Cameron and other senior figures from the Conservative Party at dinners, post-Prime Minister's Questions lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches.

The Lib Dems have said "reform" of party funding was necessary and cross party talks were already due to start within the next few weeks.

The chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher Kelly, said who politicians "met and ate" with was not the main issue but whether party leaders and officials could continue to "solicit funds in this way".

Graph showing main party donors
 

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  • rate this
    -29

    Comment number 107.

    Oh dear lefties, now Milliband will have to squirm...
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17508271

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 106.

    My first thought that came to mind when hearing about this story was how many private health insurance company representatives may have popped in for a 'quick chat'?

    Seriously big money to be made out of seriously expensive chats? Probably!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 105.

    Knock knock, how much is there?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 104.

    Come on Murdoch its open season the electorate wnat to know.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 103.

    Nice to see a few more sensical comments today after the vehemence and vitriol shown yesterday.
    I do not think we should be after individuals in cases like this but should be talking out against a system that allows this sort of thing to happen.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 102.

    Of course Cameron argues for a cap on party donations of £50,000. Why? Because it will instantaneously wipe out the Unions voice and Labours funding.

    The irony is that at least the "Labour" part are correctly named.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 101.

    #20
    Why in this day and age trade unions are still allowed to control a political party?
    ------------
    This day and age being 1974?

  • rate this
    +64

    Comment number 100.

    This government must think we are all very stupid indeed if they think we can't connect the dots between massive party donations, secret access to the policy making machine and the passing of universally reviled policies such as cutting the 50p rate and the Health and Social Care Bill.

  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 99.

    So this is why so much unpopular legislation has been passed recently - wonder which private health care providers paid for the end of the NHS? Or which transport companies wanted to buy our roads.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 98.

    We'd get this blasted deficit down a lot faster if our public bodies would be A: competent and B: acted in good faith.

    Yet again another inquiry has to take place that will cost a fortune.

    You could probably cut crime down to near zero by just locking up anybody who decides to go into politics.

  • rate this
    +56

    Comment number 97.

    Since when did Dave's flat over the shop at 10 Downing Street become private - who paid for the redecorating when they moved in?

  • rate this
    +51

    Comment number 96.

    No, Cameron. You are OUR PM - you belong to us, completely. You can have only as much privacy as we the people choose to give. In this situation, that is luxury we cannot afford you.

    We the UK require full disclosure. Now, please.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +46

    Comment number 94.

    Cameron is wildly missing the point of why people are asking who he has round for dinner.

    No absolutely don't tell me every single person who comes round.

    Yes absolutely tell me who comes round who has donated large sums to your party

    This has nothing to do with 'privacy in his own home' and everythign to do with policy influence that affects us all.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 93.

    Nobody minds the PM dining with people he knows already or friends of friends. But people who pay money to the party to spend time with the PM are doing so for a good reason.

    Do you really think a business person would be paying money to just meet the PM? surely there are much more interesting people they would want to meet given the chance.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 92.

    So Mr Cruddas is a liar. This is from Cameron's own mouth (more or less) a few minutes ago. So who is going to employ him with that reference?
    I'm sure Mr Cruddas will be very happy with this vote of confidence. Of course Cameron would not utter a falsehood..... or (?) Did Mr Cruddas get a 'hand out' to take the fall?

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 91.

    Cameron should publish who has visited the taxpayer-owned property at 10 Downing Street and how much they have donated to the Conservative Party. Then we can all decide for ourselves how dodgy (or not) he is.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 90.

    "David Cameron has declined to reveal whom he has invited to dinner at his home because such details are private."

    Not in the position that you occupy Dave.
    As prime minister you are under obligation to be transparent in all things the alternative is you come under suspicion of conducting questionable practices and suffer the consequences accordingly.
    Public scrutiny goes with public office.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 89.

    @14.Antiochean I think you pretty much say it as it is. It beggars belief that the PM could say that he was not aware of these practices. Naivete at it's worst - or something more sinister? It's not for nothing that many decisions made by this coalition benefit big business: or am I wrong by thinking that? A FULL investigation - independent of government - is necessary now!
    Oh dear............

  • rate this
    +36

    Comment number 88.

    Not wanting to disclose who the guests were just adds fuel to the idea that there is something to hide. The secret filming of Peter Cruddas suggests that there is a great deal to hide. It is no wonder that so many people have minimal trust in politicians and can't even be bothered to vote.

 

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