£300k gets you dinner with new PM
‘A night out with Mrs May’
THE Conservative Party has already sold access to the next prime minister to donors for £300,000.
At an exclusive party fundraiser, officials raised the six- figure sum by selling dinner with the new leader before they have even been chosen.
The sale of the auction prize at the Tory summer party will raise fresh questions about cash for access.
Dinner for ten people with the new leader – Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt – was offered during an auction at a private members’ club in West London on Wednesday evening.
A Tory source last night said: ‘ The next prime minister is being pimped out before they’ve even got the job.’
The dinner was one of several lots sold off to boost party coffers at the event held at the Hurlingham Club on the banks of the River Thames. Those at the summer party included Prime Minister Theresa May and Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt.
Other Cabinet Ministers at the lavish event were party chairman Brandon Lewis, de facto deputy prime minister David Lidington, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, and Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
Lots in the auction also included a photograph of Mr Johnson and David Cameron signed by both men, a day trip for nine people on a private jet to any destination in Europe, and tickets to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
One donor paid £40,000 for a private champagne party for 100 people at The London Cabaret Club in Bloomsbury, central London, while another bid £15,000 for a hunting trip to Scotland.
A walk with International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, a wine tour with Education Secretary Damian Hinds, a meal with Mr Hancock and a dinner with defence minister Tobias Ellwood were also on sale.
It is not known who successfully bid for the dinner with the next Tory leader.
In May the party faced criticism after it emerged that the wife of one of Vladimir Putin’s former ministers enjoyed a night out with Mrs May and six female members of her Cabinet after she bid a six-figure sum at a Tory fundraiser.
Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to a former Russian deputy finance minister, was entertained by the Prime Minister at the five- star Goring Hotel. The banker paid £135,000 for the dinner as an auction prize at the party’s annual Black and White ball earlier this year.
The cash took Mrs Chernukhin’s donations to the Tories over the past seven years past the £1million mark. Despite criticism, Mrs May insisted the gift was above board because Mrs Chernukhin is now a UK citizen.
Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, joined opposition parties in calling for the Tories to return the cash.
They are thought to be facing a funding crisis as a number of donors have been deterred because of Brexit and internal party wrangling.
Sir Mick Davis, the chief executive and treasurer of the party, is thought to have been forced to reach into his own pocket to cover some of the costs of the European elections earlier this year.