New Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling appeared at a Labour fundraising breakfast last week hosted by a bank involved in the takeover bid for Northern Rock.
The Bank of England has lent Northern Rock over £25 billion of public money.
The invitation to the £80 per head bash read, “Our guest speaker will make a short address and then take questions from the floor. There will be an opportunity for guests to network.”
The event was held at Deutsche Bank’s premises. Deutsche Bank said, “Nobody paid us any money.
If the chancellor wants to meet some people in London, we’re happy to host the venue.”
Deutsche Bank is one of the bidders trying to buy Northern Rock.
Alistair Darling decides who will take over Northern Rock.
The breakfast was organised by London in Business, an offshoot of the Labour party business liaison unit. It offers the chance to meet government ministers in return for thousands of pounds a year.
In 2006 London in Business offered a chance to “network” with then home secretary Charles Clarke and then transport secretary Alistair Darling in return for between £2,000 and £3,500 a year.
The chair of London in Business is Labour donor and multimillionaire property developer Kevin McGrath said that such events were entirely “normal”.
Earlier this year McGrath gave £10,000 to Hilary Benn’s bid to be deputy leader of the Labour party.
The patrons of the London in Business group are Tessa Jowell and the London mayor Ken Livingstone.