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
    +4

    Comment number 407.

    Incredible that after Camerons speech on dementia, back in the studio the conversation immediately returns to the scandal of the day.

    How much dispair must sufferers feel? The BBC couldnt care less
    And its still ongoing, its all about the scandal, not even lip service paid to Dementia which demonstrates exactly why its "The Quite Crisis"

    Shame on you BBC, you can do better that that!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 406.

    "264.anth smith
    25 Minutes ago
    There were over 177000 of us wanted to have dinner with camron to discuss nhs reform"
    You should have had a whip-round

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 405.

    I have never seen so much hysteria than I have with this! This is madness. This is a storm in a teacup, about something we all know happens, be it Business' or Unions, and we (the public) have been complicit in by allowing it to happen for hundreds of years. How we can suddenly cry "foul" is beyond me.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 404.

    Come dine with me indeed!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 403.

    Seeing as the 50p tax rate is being cut to 45p.
    The rich Conservative Party donors now have the money to donate.
    Handy that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 402.

    my final comment on this:

    I think that we need independent auditors to go to the BBC and investigate whether the ratings system on HYS is being manipulated.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 401.

    This is Murdoch’s revenge for the phone hacking enquiry. It is unusual to see the evil Tories and one of their sleazy media backers fighting like ferrets in a sack. However the event makes no difference. The only enquiries that will count are the internal ones to make sure they do not get caught again.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 400.

    No matter how David Cameron tries to twist this matter, Mr Cruddas has been caught on camera explaining how much it is to set up a meeting, is he just plain lying through his teeth( He is a politician). It’s not a matter of the Prime Ministers dinner party’s with friends, if he is worried about people knowing who he is friendly with, well then that is worrying.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 399.

    I have tried a couple of times unsuccessfully to get my view across that choosing to live in a goldfish bowl and financially being rewarded for it, leads to loss of privacy. I tried to say that Mr Cruddas' actions could not be seen as unbelievable as this guy was appointed by DM and tried to get sponsorship in a way he knew could be achieved in return for favours.Why would he say it otherwise?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 398.

    I'm sure that Robert Peston will be the first person on the phone to James Murdoch, congratulating him on his Times scoop about high level corruption in the British Government

    Thank god for the Times

    And where was the BBC when all this was going on?
    Not having dinner I hope..

    Presumably now there will now be an uneasy truce declared between machine gun Davey Cameron and Rupert the nose Murdoch

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 397.

    And when, pray will Mr Cameron publish the details of "donors" who had dinner at Chequers?

    What about all those who came to dinners but paid via a "company", will meetings with these "non-donor" folk (who we all know are actually donors) be declared?

    Same old sleaze.

    Fact is, paying for (or receiving cash for) political favours is illegal and he knows it.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 396.

    And how many times have Blair, Brown and Millband had cosy dinners with Union Leaders? How many times did the Unions influence policy when Labour was bankrupting Britain? I am certainly no Tory but they really are all as bad as each other.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 395.

    #266.Claude Balls
    There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are trades union members.
    They work in the public and private sectors, their views and interests are as valid as any CEO.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 394.

    African politicians should take note of how it is done. They are too crude when it comes to corruption. Be a bit subtle, like the English.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 393.

    Mr Camerons advisors have told him that the pubic reaction to his refusal to publish his guest list is not good . So he will now publish it. Another mismanaged situation showing poor judgment and relying on the public having the memory span of a gnat.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 392.

    Isn't it revealing that David Cameron's first response to being challenged is always an arrogant one? Quickly followed by the u-turn as his minders remind him that his Etonian bully boy manners do not go down well with the ordinary folk who pay for his 'private flat' in Downing Street.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 391.

    This news story is not the story that many of the people below are commenting on, as until 12.30 today the story was 'David Cameron refuses to disclose No 10 guests after donor row.' That story has now been overwritten by this one, Winston Smith-style. The important fact that David Cameron initially refused to disclose the guests has been removed. This is not an update, this is rewriting history.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 390.

    It is a fact that rich people will seek to buy influence. A true democracy must seek to negate that influence (otherwise what meaning does 'one man, one vote have').

    It IS that serious. It is up to ALL our politicians to resolve this lobbying problem but given David Cameron is in the hotseat he has some serious explaining to do.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 389.

    Lets have the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth on this matter. And if its as bad as people seem to think then resign Mr Cameron.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 388.

    Politics must be state funded, otherwise we end up with democracy American style.

 

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