THE CONSERVATIVES yesterday published a list of large donors who have attended dinners at the Prime Minister’s official residences since the coalition was elected in 2010.
Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas resigned on Sunday after being caught suggesting that big donors could influence Number 10 policy.
Meetings between large donors and leaders of political parties are allowed under current rules. Yet opposition leader Ed Miliband said the claims show a “breaking down of the lines between support for a political party and the way government policy is determined”.
Like Peter Cruddas, Michael Spencer is a former Conservative treasurer. Just last month the Icap chief attended a dinner in Downing Street with his partner. He has added to his fortune through the spread betting industry via his interest in City Index, which is owned by investment vehicle IPLG. He is a major Tory donor.
Current co-chairman of the Tory party, Lord Feldman raised funds for David Cameron’s successful bid for the party leadership in 2005. He is listed as attending a “thank you dinner” at Number 10 on 14 July 2010 after the coalition came to power, and was appointed to the House of Lords five months later.
The low-profile property mogul had an extremely short-lived spell as Tory treasurer in 2010, stepping down before he had even started in the post.
The millionaire donor famously manages to avoid photos of himself appearing in public.
He attended a dinner at Number 10 in February 2011.
Millionaire Michael Farmer, who made his fortune by trading in metals, is the founder of hedge fund RK Capital Management. He has been thrown into the deep end, having been appointed Conservative party co-treasurer last month. Three months earlier he attended a “social dinner” in the Downing Street flat.
Billionaire Sir Anthony is chairman of JCB, which makes machines for the construction industry. He is believed to have donated in excess of £2m to the party in recent years and attended the “thank you dinner” at Downing Street in the summer of 2010, along with his wife, Lady Bamford.
Sir Paul Ruddock is another hedge fund chief to have made significant donations to the Conservative Party. He founded Lansdowne Partners in July 1998 and is also a keen fundraiser for the Victoria & Albert Museum. His wife Jill is also a supporter of the arts. They both attended a dinner at Downing Street in July 2010.
Michael Hintze is the billionaire owner of hedge fund CQS, and can be found in the Forbes rich list. He has made
donations to a number of senior Conservatives and, like Ruddock, funds the arts and other charitable causes. Along with his wife Dorothy he attended the post-election dinner party at Number 10 in July 2010.
Angest heads up one of Britain’s smaller financial services groups, Arbuthnot, and has donated repeatedly to the Conservatives in recent years. In November 2011 he attended a dinner at David Cameron’s Downing Street flat for “long-term supporters of the party, with whom the PM has a strong relationship”.
Oil chief Ian Taylor leads Vitol Group, “one of the world’s largest independent energy trading companies”. He has donated over half a million pounds to the Conservatives since 2006, and was subsequently invited to attend the same dinner as Angest (above) – for long-term supporters, in November of last year.
Also attending Cameron’s events:
■ Lord John Sainsbury
The supermarket magnate is a Conservative peer in the House of Lords and has donated consistently to the party. He and Lady Sainsbury attended the dinner in July 2010.
■ Murdoch MacLennan
MacLennan is not a major donor to the Tory party, but he did attend the post-election dinner in 2010. He is chief executive of the Telegraph Media Group.
■ Michael Freeman
Michael Freeman, of property group Argent, was a guest at the July 2010 dinner.