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
    0

    Comment number 427.

    I see no problem with selling dinner with the PM or any other politician (as long as tax payers money is not used to entertain these people, but there should be no influence on policy... Being able to buy policy influence is seriously out of order, and must be stopped NOW! This is a democracy the vote of one person (no matter their status or worth) should be worth the same!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 426.

    If we go the way of tax payer funding the partys thats OK in that it will be a drop in the sea as far as tgax rev is conserned but working how much each party got would be a nightmare. On number of candidates? current seats? What if you are moraly oposed to a party rather than just politicaly (BNP extream religious etc)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 425.

    it doesn't surprise me, this is clearly failing standard of ethics. Now the Rich make tell this Government which policies to implement & when.

    For the rest of us, we're there left to dry be it alone.

    Money talks,

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 424.

    @ 81. virtualpict - this subject should be everyone's business as the people invited to Cameron's for dinner pay large sums of money into the Tory party funds. People do not pay large sums of money for nothing - they expect something in return. Ever wondered why certain consumer laws are as they are? Ever wondered why certain rules & regulations are as they are? This is bare-faced corruption.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 423.

    Money taks - Ministers listen.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 422.

    Lets face it. They are all at it. Selling access to government for "donations" has been going on since before Lloyd George. Ed, Dave and Nick are all bricking it that an enquiry will shine some light onto murky places. Waiting for "We must draw a line under this and look forwards, not backwards".

    What we can't have, though, is the "taxpayer" funding of parties.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 421.

    I wonder when we will see the reviews of 'Camerons' - It has to be Londons most expensive restaurant !

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 420.

    Do I detect the slightest frisson of News International getting its own back for the phone hacking scandal and Leveson enquiries?
    The baying Hyenas are out today and Cameron's blood is what they want. The obliging public are right behind them - indeed they ARE them, which is most unedifying.

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 419.

    I am sorry but I can't see much wrong with this. Our country needs political parties to run it, and these parties need fund. There is nothing wrong with the donation, and there is nothing wrong that the PM invites the biggest donors for dinner to say "thank you".

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 418.

    If bosses of large corporations can have £million tax bills written off during a dinner date with a HMRC representative, what sort of deals are maybe being discussed and/or struck over dinner at No.10?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 417.

    Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are supposedly shocked by Mr Cruddas offering access for £250,000.

    It is hard to believe they were unaware of what was going on.

    The Conservative party is nowadays a wholly centralised organisation under the direct authority of the leader and his chief strategist, in this case Osborne.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 416.

    Good to see the Tory sleeze is back with a vengance!

    Who remembers Dennis Thatcher winning the Westminster refuse collections after it was privatised by Maggie et al?

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 415.

    There should legislation that means anyone who attends a private dinner with the PM who has made a donation, intends to, or donates shortly afterwards should be disclosed. If it's his golf chum whom he has a few pints with once a month, that's his own business. I would however like to see the menu, I'm guessing its not welsh rarebit

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 414.

    Politics & corruption go hand in hand. The temptation to make huge sums of money for very little risk is what drove the banks to bring down the world economy. Politicians are not averse to the same tempation.

    The merger of Corporation and State is the same principle behind Mussolini's fascism. Democracy died in the West in 1971 when we came off the gold standard.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 413.

    cameron trying to be transparent now hes been found out....FAIL

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 412.

    The Prime Minister should be completely open to question on whom he
    entertains at No 11 [since that is where his flat is] Downing Street, also at
    Chequers when he is required to. As he is right now. He and his press office, and others in his circle, owe it to the electorate of this country to
    give an account of conversations...deals?.. made behind closed doors.
    He owes it to the voting public.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 411.

    Dave is welcome to dinner at my house where I'd like to discuss ever increasing fuel bills, spiralling food prices, cuts in local services, against a background of frozen wages being shrunk by inflation. You know the real stuff that affects real people. Perhaps he'll give me a 5% tax cut!!!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 410.

    Cameron and the rest of them will continue to do as they please. They are all in it for themselves and I really think it will make no difference publishing their menus and guest lists. Roll on election time. But remember this. When we the electorate change the government, the secret government (permanent secretaries etc..) remain exactly where they are. They remain in control of US.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 409.

    How can we possibly trust that the lists are honest and complete after Mr Cameron insisted he would not divulge the list yesterday.

    The list is now a side issue. This government is no longer to be trusted.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 408.

    If there was only four occasions why did he have to read it of a piece of paper.{must that money be taxed or not]

 

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