Dugher writes to Cameron seeking “immediate clarity” on donations

March 25, 2012 12:22 pm

After today’s big splash in the Sunday Times (and the subsequent resignation of Tory Co-Treasurer Peter Cruddas), Michael Dugher MP has written to the Prime Minister asking “immediate clarity” on a number of issues related to donations. The letter can be read below.

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Dear Prime Minister,

I write to you following reports in the Sunday Times today of rich individuals being offered access to, and influence upon, the heart of your Government in return for sizeable cash donations.

Suggestions that in return for large donations individuals can be granted direct access to you and the opportunity to influence policy via submissions to your Number 10 Policy Unit are incredibly serious.

When ordinary doctors and nurses have had their views so completely ignored on the issue of the disastrous NHS reorganisation, it will be all the more frustrating to hear that someone who could afford a quarter of a million pounds seems able to ensure their voice is listened too.

This is not about Peter Cruddas or any individual. It is about the way your Government is conducted.

In Opposition you said that “sunshine is the best disinfectant”. I agree. It is vital that we now have full transparency in this matter. Therefore I would ask you for immediate clarity on the following issues:

· Which donors to the Conservative Party have visited No10 Downing Street, Chequers or Dorneywood since May 2010?

· Which donors to the Conservative Party have made submissions to the Number 10 Policy Unit, both orally and written, when were these made, and on what topics?

· In particular, in light of this week’s Budget, will you provide details of all donors who have made representations, both written and orally, on changes to the 50p tax rate?

· In the light of these allegations can you explain why – as reported in the Independent newspaper on 22 October 2011 – you personally intervened in the Sir Christopher Kelly’s investigation into party funding to request that the Committee on Standards in Public Life revise draft proposals to introduce a cap on large donations – a proposal which if implemented would have prevented such allegations of large cash donations for access ever arising?

On 8 February 2010, you said that lobbying was “the next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money.” For all those words action by your Government to address this is long overdue.

Today you said that you would ensure there was “a proper party inquiry” into these matters. However, given the seriousness of the allegations about how Government is conducted, it is not appropriate for the Conservative Party to investigate itself. We need a full, independent inquiry. Therefore I ask that you now request the Independent Adviser on Standards in Public Life to launch an inquiry into this matter, to answer these and any other related questions he sees fit.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Dugher MP

  • William

    This seems to me to be the minimal demand we should make. Don’t we also need to know the dates of  the hitherto secret Premiership dinners and who was at them? This should then lead us to the policy requests and implementations.

  • TomFairfax

    I’ve just made a quick check of the contents of the Bribery Act 2010. Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

    Obviously a legal bod would be needed for at least one professional opinion, but it seems to me that soliciting for or accepting bribes are both crimes.

    Some clarification is needed on defining the difference between a business/organisation/individual being asked for a large ‘donation’ to be paid directly, or to intermediaries, being a crime according to this legislation, and somehow not being a crime if the recipient is a British politician or political party.

    The Bribery Act 2010 is quite clear in that it supercedes previous legislation.

    Given HMRC today apparently can’t define what bread is, this looks a bit tricky to swat away quickly.

    • Jimmy S

       I’m surprised no-one has mentioned this.  My initial reaction to this was that this is first and foremost a police matter.

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