Socialist Worker

Cash for access scandal continues to haunt Tories

by Patrick Ward
Issue No. 2297

New revelations have exposed more chummy dinner dates between rich Tory donors and David Cameron.

Downing Street published a list of meetings between Cameron and rich people at Downing Street after the initial row over “cash for access” broke out. But it failed to mention all of them—and the government is now being accused of a cover-up.

The original list fails to mention at least 12 meetings at other venues that also involved the Tories’ disgraced former party treasurer Peter Cruddas.

The Tories have tried to distance themselves from Cruddas, who was secretly filmed boasting about how he could arrange meetings with Cameron for cash.

Cameron said, “Peter Cruddas has never recommended anyone to come to dinner in my flat, nor has he been there himself.”


Yet Cruddas sponsored a dinner at the prime minister’s official Chequers residence. He says he sat next to Cameron’s wife, Samantha, and served her a “ruby murray”—curry. Cruddas also said he attended 13 dinners and parties in houses, galleries and country estates with Cameron.

He said this was to “get the donors in front of the prime minister”.

Newly revealed recordings show Cruddas bragging about getting in a £1 million donation just two weeks before his resignation last month. The Tories had claimed he never brought them a big cheque.

Some donors were easier to please than others. Cruddas claimed that Sir Michael Bishop, former head of the BMI airline, gave the Tories £1 million after being given a birthday card signed by Cameron.

Some 15 other meetings are also thought to have taken place involving other Tory ministers.

And another former Tory aide has also been caught out advising undercover journalists on how to pay to influence policy.

Edward Staite, former press officer to chancellor George Osborne, suggested that funding a Tory policy group would be a good way to influence the political agenda.

He was filmed telling undercover reporters posing as financiers to fund a Tory policy unit on issues they backed.

He denies this on his blog here.

Sarah Southern, a lobbyist who sells access to Cameron, also claimed that journalists could buy favourable research through the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

The dodgy web of dinners, donations and deceit exposes the corruption that goes to the heart of Cameron’s government.

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Tue 3 Apr 2012, 18:39 BST
Issue No. 2297
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