Text of Conservative Letter re Newsnight revelations
- 15 Jan 08, 06:51 PM
Director of Party Funding
The Electoral Commission
Great Peter Street
London SW1P 2HW
Tuesday, 15th January 2008
BBC Newsnight last night drew attention to three flights taken by David Cameron in October 2005 which were declared in the Register of Members’ Interests but not to the Electoral Commission.
We have been looking into the discrepancy, and have tried to get to the bottom of what happened over two years ago.
In the case of the flight provided by Michael Spencer on 6 October 2005, David Cameron was invited by Michael Spencer to join him on his flight returning from Blackpool to London after the Conservative Party Conference that year. The cost per passenger was €899.41 per passenger, and therefore under the £1,000 threshold.
In the case of the helicopter flight on 13 October 2005 registered in the name of JJ Gallagher Estates in the Register of Members’ Interests, this was a mistaken registration. The flight was in fact paid for by Lord Harris – and covered by the registrations made for occasional use of a helicopter by Harris Ventures in the Register of Members’ Interests on 28 November 2005 and to the Electoral Commission in the name of Lord Harris on 10 November 2005. We are writing to the Registrar to correct the entry in the House of Commons register.
The outstanding question concerns the third flight - a helicopter from London to Dewsbury and then on to Blackpool on 2nd October 2005. Although a very large number of flights were declared in both registers, we cannot establish why this particular flight was only registered in the Register of Members’ Interests. Mr Cameron would therefore be grateful if you could please add this to his declaration with the Electoral Commission.
Mr. Cameron always endeavours to report everything appropriately. You will see that he has declared a large number of flights over this period to both the Electoral Commission and to the Registrar.
From this point on, in order to streamline and simplify the process and remove any uncertainty about what flights to declare and questions over their precise value, Mr Cameron intends to ignore the threshold differentials between the Register of Members’ Interests and the Electoral Commission and to declare all donated flights to both.
Chief of Staff
cc: Sam Younger – Chairman of the Electoral Commission