David Cameron publishes list of all donors dining at No 10

 

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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
    +7

    Comment number 447.

    I used to work in planning and a colleague once declared a developer giving her a second hand book so she couldn't be accused of taking a back hander.

    I am staggered it's not protocol to declare such meetings within the government. If anything, to ensure transparency and so accusations of corruption can't be made. The fact that the meetings were not declared makes it look highly suspicious.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 446.

    Bet Thatcher was the same as davie boy. Lib Dems helped put this lot into power. Will be crushed all over Briton in next election me thinks. Destroyed in Scotland for being so stupid. Money Chasers for 30 bits of SILVER.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 445.

    There is a lot of focus on dinners, but the main point is that individuals or companies that donate, could be given the opportunity to influence policy.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 444.

    Too little too late and after recent revelations we wouldn't believe a word anyway David. The balloon is up. Time for an election now. Not that I will bother voting until a new party is there to vote for, and not a single issue one at that. We just need someone to form a party and run for PM that is not doing it for all the wrong motives.... Could be tricky... power corrupts as we have just seen!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 443.

    Of course the PM is influenced by donors, exactly the same as the Labour Party is influenced by the Unions. What does the public expect? He who pays the piper, calls the tune, as the old saying says!
    If someone supported you in a venture, be it business, politics, sport, it would be natural for you to be friendly with them. Common sense tells you that you do not antagonise those who support you!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 442.

    Nah'.... don't believe what you see and what you hear, there's bound to be one or two left off, will be all tailored to look good if you ask me!

    One thing speaks volumes is he accepted his resignation, he could have refused and sacked him...... I can only think that is to keep him quiet!

    And I though Cammy was an anti sleaze guy, duh', wrong again!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 441.

    316.sxgree - ''DC is rightly being called to account for this kind of grace and favour behavious. Such things didn't seem to make much difference during labour's last government though; Ecclestone, Abrahams, et al.''

    Al tells me he's never been to dinner at Downing St. ... get yer facts right!!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 440.

    Well, at least he's seen sense for once. Shame he didn't do the same with the far more important NHS bill.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 439.

    To those who like to defend Cameron etc with the argument labour is no better blah blah.

    We know! We want an end to these career politicians and their corrupt social class so we can finaly vote for a democratic and ethical goverment

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 438.

    I think Ed Milliband needs to Google "Victor Dahdaleh"

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 437.

    I wonder how many trade unionists (who provide 80% of labour funds) have had dinner with the leader of the labour party.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 436.

    #285 "For those comparing donors from business, paying vast sums to the Conservatives and the funding from Unions for Labour - remember the issue is about transparency. Unions have to abide by the votes of their members - which parties they fund. It's transparent."

    Same applies to companies. section 366 Companies Act 2006 all political donations require approval of shareholders

  • Comment number 435.

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

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 434.

    Who david invites to his own property is his business. However No 10 is public property, and we are his landlords/ladies. If he brings dis-repute across the threshhold, it becomes our business! After all he only has tenancy for about two more years.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 433.

    Corruption is like a Black Hole - virtually impossible to see directly.

    How do scientists prove Black Holes exist? By observing the EFFECT on their surroundings.

    So logically, if we discover secret meetings with and big donations from health companies, for example, in the context of the unpopular, ill-advised and un-mandated NHS privatization - then that will be enough to PROVE corruption.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 432.

    Will the list of people include a breakdown of those who have benefited from the reduction in the 50p tax break? Guests don't pay to attend dinner, now we know why they spent so much doing up the kitchen. Those that have now have even more, those that don't have now have even less.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 431.

    People who say that private dinners are the PMs business need to learn to read. The issue is that the person the PM meets for a private dinner is not a best pal or a family member, it is someone who would not be having a "private" meeting but for the very large amount of money they pay. They have an agenda! So for those who say "respect privacy" look up bribery and corruption in the dictionary!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 430.

    On a positive note (yes, really), we should be happy that we're upset about this. Let's face it, it ain't Berlusconi.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 429.

    #273
    Don't forget the 2010 Byers affair which was essentially the EXACT SAME THING.
    ---------
    In much the same way as a stickleback and a marlin are exactly the same - that's reflected in the amount of bait, essentially!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 428.

    HALF TIME SCORE:

    CAMERON = 1 - goal by 'phone hacking'
    MURDOCH = 1 own goal by Cruddas

 

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