David Cameron fundraising scandal: Guest list of Tory donors who had dinner at Downing Street | Mail Online
Cam dine with me: The guest list of Tory donors who had dinner with Dave and Sam at No. 10 and Chequers
The guest list of Conservative Party donors wined and dined by David Cameron and his wife Samantha at Downing Street and Chequers has been revealed today.
Lord John and Lady Sainsbury, secretive tycoon David Rowland – once branded a ‘shady financier’ – and billionaire City businessman Michael Spencer, are among the 26 people who have been invited for supper with the Prime Minister either at Number 10 or his country residence Chequers.
Mr Cameron – who sometimes cooks – confirmed he had dinner with ‘significant’ Conservative Party donors at his flat on three occasions since becoming Prime Minister, as well as at a post-election dinner in No 10 in 2010.
Scroll down to hear David Cameron’s reaction
Close relationship: Tory treasurer Peter Cruddas, left, boasted that he could give donors private access to David Cameron, right
Today he pledged to publish a quarterly register of any future meals at official residences with people who have given more than £50,000 to the Tories.
The announcement came as Mr Cameron was put under huge pressure over claims by former Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas that individuals could secure meetings with ministers and influence policy formation in return for a ‘premier league’ donation.
Mr Cruddas quit on Saturday after the Sunday Times published secret recordings in which he urged undercover reporters to give more than £250,000 in return for direct face time with senior ministers.
Invited: David Rowland in an early picture and right, Telegraph Media Group chief executive Murdoch MacLennan, who is not listed by the Electoral Commission as a donor to the Tories
Mr Cameron yesterday denounced his comments as ‘completely unacceptable’ and announced an internal party inquiry to ensure there would be no repeat.
And senior Tory Francis Maude this morning appeared to hope that this had drawn a line under the affair, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was ‘a bit of a nonsense’.
Billionaire city boss Michael Spencer went for dinner at Number 10 in February
But it was later announced that Mr Maude would give an oral statement to the House of Commons this afternoon to update MPs on reform of political party funding.
And Mr Cameron broke into a scheduled speech on dementia care in London to address the Cruddas affair head-on.
He confirmed that he had held a post-election ‘thankyou’ dinner for supporters, including some major donors, in 10 Downing Street in July 2010, followed by three private dinners in the flat above Number 11 where he lives with wife Samantha.
He denied that any of those invited had been recommended by Mr Cruddas, describing most of them as people he had known for many years. Neither had Mr Cruddas – himself a big donor to the Tories – ever attended a Downing Street dinner.
‘In the two years I have been Prime Minister, there have been three occasions on which significant donors have come to a dinner in my flat. In addition, there was a further post-election dinner which included donors in Downing Street itself shortly after the general election,’ said Mr Cameron.
‘None of these dinners were fundraising dinners and none of these dinners were paid for by the taxpayer. I have known most of those attending for many years.’
Dinner date: Sir Anthony Bamford of JCB and right, Lord Sainsbury who attended dinner on July 14 2010
It was publicly known that the Conservatives held regular dinners with the PM and other ministers for the ‘Leader’s Group’ of donors who give more than £50,000, said Mr Cameron. From now on, the party will publish a register of attendees at these events.
Mr Cameron dismissed Mr Cruddas’s promise that major donors’ concerns would be fed into a Downing Street ‘policy committee’.
No such committee exists, and members of the Number 10 Policy Unit had never met anyone as a result of a request from the former co-treasurer, he said.
Mr Cameron added: ‘To avoid any perception of undue influence, from now on we will put in place new procedures in which if any ministerial contact with a party donor prompts a request for policy advice, the minister will refer this to his or her private office, who can seek guidance from the permanent secretary.’
Secretive tycoon David Rowland and billionaire City businessman Michael Spencer, are among the people who have been invited to either Number 10 or his country residence Chequers (pictured)
The internal Conservative inquiry into the Cruddas affair will be led by Tory peer and prominent lawyer Lord Gold, said the Prime Minister. It had earlier been reported that Tory co-chairman Lord Feldman would lead the probe.
Labour former Cabinet minister Jack Straw said that today’s announcement was ‘symptomatic of the pandemonium that has broken out in the Conservative Party and in the higher reaches of the Government.’ He told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: ‘I think that we will still need an independent inquiry.’
WHO HAD A DINNER INVITE TO DAVE AND SAM’S?
May 31, 2010 – Chequers – lunch
– Michael Spencer and his partner
June 6, 2010 – Chequers – lunch
– Lord Ashcroft and his wife
July 14, 2010 – 10 Downing Street. Described as a ‘thank-you dinner’ inside Number 10 itself, while flat was being refurbished
– Anthony and Carole Bamford
– Michael and Dorothy Hintze
– Murdoch and Elsa MacLennan
– Lord John and Lady Sainsbury
– Andrew Feldman
– Jill and Paul Ruddock
– Mike and Jenny Farmer
– Michael and Clara Freeman
August 8, 2010 – Chequers – lunch
– David Rowland and his wife
November 7, 2010 – Chequers – lunch
– Fares Fares and his wife
February 6, 2011 – Chequers – lunch
– Howard Leigh and his wife
February 28, 2011 – Downing Street flat.
– David Rowland and his wife
– Andrew Feldman also attended
October 15, 2011 – Chequers – A charity fundraiser in aid of Mencap and three smaller charities in aid of disabled children, attended by a large number of people, including donors to both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party.
November 2, 2011 – Downing Street flat. Described as a ‘social dinner for strong and long term supporters of the party, with whom the PM has a strong relationship’.
– Henry and Dorothy Angest
– Michael Farmer and wife
– Ian Taylor and wife
February 27, 2012 – Downing Street flat. Said to have been a ‘social dinner’
– Michael Spencer and partner
Lord Feldman is said to have visited Chequers on ‘several occasions’ as Conservative Party co-chairman.
The Prime Minister renewed calls for Labour to agree on a cap of £50,000 on donations to parties, but insisted that this limit must apply not only to individuals and companies but also to unions – something Labour has always resisted.
Labour leader Ed Miliband will respond to Mr Maude’s statement in the Commons this afternoon, and said he had contacted Downing Street to say that it was Mr Cameron – and not his Cabinet Office minister – who should address MPs.
The Conservative Party said that a post-election ‘thank-you dinner’ was held at 10 Downing Street on July 14 2010, attended by Anthony Bamford of JCB, hedge fund tycoon Michael Hintze, Tory peer Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, Lansdowne Partners chief executive Sir Paul Ruddock, City financier Mike Farmer and Michael Freeman, as well as their spouses.
Telegraph Media Group chief executive Murdoch MacLennan, who is not listed by the Electoral Commission as a donor to the Tories, also attended.
On February 28 last year, property tycoon and major donor David Rowland, who had previously been appointed party treasurer but quit before taking up the post, attended a dinner in the flat, along with party co-chairman Lord Feldman.
Mr Rowland spent some 40 years as a tax exile and on his return to Britain, began giving generously to the Tory Party, eventually donating over £4million.
He has had an extremely controversial business career, being once described as ‘shady’.
He attracted unproven accusations of misallocating millions of dollars in New Zealand, and also of asset-stripping.
On November 2 last year, Mr Cameron held a ‘social dinner for strong and long-term supporters of the party, with whom the PM has a strong relationship’, including banker and Tory donor Henry Angest, Mr Farmer and oil company boss Ian Taylor.
And on February 27 this year, he held a social dinner with former treasurer and major donor Michael Spencer and his partner.
An aide to the Prime Minister said he would not be releasing retrospective records of party dinners at Chequers as it would be difficult to provide an accurate record, but added that there had been no ‘donor only’ meals at the grace and favour estate.
News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, whose own meetings with politicians have come under intense scrutiny as a result of the News of the World hacking scandal, called for an independent inquiry into the ‘cash for access’ affair.
Appalled: Sir Christopher Kelly, Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said the revelations were ‘not an isolated incident’ while Labour leader Ed Miliband called the news ‘disturbing’
Writing on Twitter today, Mr Murdoch said: ‘Of course there must be a full independent inquiry on both sides. In great detail, and with consequences. Trust must be established. Without trust, democracy, and order will go.’
‘Business deals’: Mr Cruddas was secretly filmed telling undercover reporters he could arrange private meetings with senior Conservatives
Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, last night warned that the revelations were ‘not an isolated incident’.
He added: ‘As long as we have a system in which the main political parties are reliant on very large donations from very rich individuals – or organisations, in the case of the Labour Party – then events of this kind are almost bound to happen.
‘It is a cancer which needs to be addressed.’
The revelations are deeply embarrassing for Mr Cameron, who pledged two years ago to crack down on the shadowy world of lobbying.
The existence of secret dinners with donors also undermines the Coalition’s much-vaunted transparency drive, which allows the public to see who ministers have met in their official capacity.
Downing Street insisted that the Government had been ‘more transparent’ than any previous administration.
Asked about the actions of Mr Cruddas, the spokeswoman said: ‘We are just as flabbergasted as you guys.’
Play time for young and old! Polar bears from Canada to Norway caught mucking about in the snow | Mail Online
Play time for young and old! Polar bears caught mucking about in the snow after a long hibernation
By Lyle Brennan
Playfully clambering over their doting mother these polar bear cubs spring into action for the most sociable time of the year.
Across the polar regions from Norway to Canada these images show the intimate relationship between polar bear mothers and their young as they emerge from their winter hibernation.
Each winter females dig dens, where they give birth to their cubs – usually two, but sometimes as many as four.
All aboard: A female polar bear and her cubs play in the snow in Canada after a long winter’s rest in the den
Peek-a-boo: A cub takes shelter as it ventures out in Churchill, Canada
Making its own entertainment: Grappling with a birch tree in Canada
The timing of the birth is sometime during early winter, between December and January.
The snow den, the mother’s body heat and her milk, which is high in fat content, enable the cubs to keep warm and grow rapidly before leaving the den in March or April.
Short trips are made to and from the den for several days as the cubs get used to the outside temperatures. Then the family leaves and makes its way to the sea ice, where the mother teaches, hunts for and protects her cubs.
Gone fishing: Meanwhile in Norway a polar bear takes the plunge into icy waters in the hope of finding a bite to eat
After two years together, the family disperses and the cycle begins again.
But not before a bit of light play in the snow.
Photographers have spent hundreds of hours in the Arctic regions, photographing the amazing interactions from lounging around in the snow to diving head first into the icy waters looking for food.
Taking the weight off its paws: A polar bear stretches out on the snow in Churchill, Canada
‘The polar bear’s presence is entirely transitory, with photography dependent on accurate timing, the right weather and exceptional luck,’ said Steve.
‘Imagine a world without polar bears.
‘It seems unthinkable, yet as climate change gathers pace, the Arctic ice floes upon which the polar bear depends are beginning to break up.
Come here, you: Two polar bears nuzzle with each other in Churchill, Canada
‘In the years ahead, this could be catastrophic for this truly charismatic bear which, when it stands up, is taller than the largest elephant.
‘The irony is that the polar bear represents one of conservation’s greatest successes: thanks to an international convention controlling the hunting of the species.’
Little attention-seeker: A bear and her cub in a snow-covered forest in Canada
Bear hug: A show of affection in Churchill, Canada
Viewers ‘spot newsreader sleeping’ on BBC Breakfast
By Ben Skipper
For years presenters of early morning TV shows have talked about their early starts and yet they never show signs of tiredness… until now anyway.
At around 8:30am on Friday morning ‘BBC Breakfast’ cut to their BBC News Channel counterparts only to see newsreader Simon McCoy seemingly sleeping at his desk.
Viewers spotted him with his head resting on his arms, with many taking to Twitter afterwards to point out the gaffe.
One tweeter called Neil Tam-I’m, said: "LOL at Simon McCoy being caught napping during a live bulletin!”
Sleeping newsreader McCoy took to Twitter himself to laugh off the incident. He joked to one user: “I was not asleep! Had just been told The Queen wanted me to cover her NEXT visit…”
He later said it was “a long desk head-banging that wasn’t meant to be picked up in the BBC1 opt!!”
It’s not the first time Simon McCoy has made the headlines with his strange antics. In 2009 he was caught doing push-ups at his desk and a year later the BBC had to apologise after a weatherman was caught on camera making a rude gesture at McCoy.
Miracle on the Jubilee line: Boy, 5, rescued from tube track after driver spots little hand reaching up from platform | Mail Online
Miracle on the Jubilee line: Boy, 5, who fell under Tube train as it pulled away rescued when driver spots little hand
By Eddie Wrenn
A boy of five was dramatically rescued after he fell under a Tube train just as it prepared to pull out of the station.
The driver had been given the ‘all-clear’ to pull out of Finchley Road station on Sunday evening when the boy – boarding just before his parents – slipped down the gap and tumbled onto the rails beneath the carriage.
As his desperate parents rushed to reach the boy, the driver prepared to drive – but carried out a quick last-minute check on his cabin’s CCTV and saw the boy’s hands reaching up as he tried to climb out.
Danger: Only the driver’s quick-witted actions stopped a disaster when a boy, five, fell underneath the carriages at Finchley Road station
The unnamed driver, who was on his final northbound journey on Sunday night, has been hailed a hero for his careful observations and then his quick reactions in slamming on the breaks.
In a statement, the driver said: ‘A small child fell beneath my train trying to board while the doors were closing.
‘Thankfully, I saw something and was staring at the CCTV when I saw the hands come up on the platform.
‘My doors were closed with a pilot light (which meant the train was ready to leave). Had I not waited a few seconds I would have pressed the automatic train operation start and been at least one to two cars over him before the passenger emergency alarm was activated.’
The driver, who was making the final northbound journey of his shift, went on: ‘I’m just glad that my CCTV was working. Having kids of similar age, this has really hit home.’
Speed: If the train had departed the station, the boy would likely have been crushed by a couple of carriages
Aslef, the driver union, stepped up their opposition to driverless Tube trains after the incident.
General secretary Mick Whelan said all the automatic devices in place showed the platform was clear and it was safe for the Tube train to depart – and only the driver’s action saved the child from death or injury.
He said: ‘The driver, on a final visual safety check, saw a tiny hand reaching up from the track.
‘The train remained in position and a young life was saved.
‘Mayor Boris Johnson has been playing politics with the issue of driverless trains. He thinks he is currying favour with voters with this stand. How many votes are a young child’s life worth? How would he explain to those watching horrified parents that his proposal is a good one?
‘On Sunday all the automatic devices showed the platform was clear. Only a driver could have averted a potential tragedy.
Overground, underground: Aslef said Boris Johnson should back down on driverless trains
‘Boris Johnson is wrong to continue to push his policy for driverless Tube trains when it can threaten the lives of London’s travelling public. I want him to accept that it is a mistake.’
London Underground’s network services director Nigel Holness said: ‘In this case our staff followed their established safety procedures to bring the incident to a safe conclusion and without injury.
‘The whole design and operation of the network would be different with driverless trains and therefore we cannot compare the two.
‘Many incidents on the network are, and will always be, customer-related and we will of course always provide fully for handling those safely and efficiently.’
Transport for London confirmed that the child fell between a stationary train and the platform at Finchley Road station, adding that staff followed their established procedures to swiftly respond and bring the incident to a safe conclusion.
The child and parents were able to continue their journeys without reported injury.
It is standard safety practice for drivers at the station to check CCTV in their cabs before moving their trains off from the platforms and this process was followed correctly, said TfL.