WHEN co-treasurer of the Conservative Party, Peter Cruddas was sat across the table talking unassumingly to what he thought were potential donors to the party, he had no reason to be concerned. But unfortunately for Cruddas, the Conservatives and Prime Minister David Cameron that conversation has become more than of just a little concern.
TROUBLE: The front page splash that has landed PM Cameron in hot water.
This is what Cruddas said to undercover Sunday Times reporters “Two hundred grand to 250 is premier league. What you would get is,
when we talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get
you at the Cameron/Osborne dinners.
“You do really pick up a lot
of information and when you see the prime minister, you’re seeing David
Cameron, not the prime minister. But within that room everything is
confidential – you can ask him practically any question you want.
you’re unhappy about something, we will listen to you and put it into
the policy committee at No 10 – we feed all feedback to the policy
As a result Peter Cruddas has now stepped down as co-treasurer to the Conservatives and the spotlight has turned to Cameron, with many questioning his role in the matter.
Here’s a news clip with some video footage of Cruddas’s conversation with The Sunday Times;
Cameron’s man Cruddas – cash for access to PM scandal
But this scandal will have wider political implications not just on David Cameron. The story broken by The Sunday Times a flagship Murdoch owned News Corporation title, has not gone unnoticed by the papers proprietor Rupert Murdoch. Recently Murdoch joined social networking site Twitter and he wasted no time in getting on Twitter to gloat.
Great Sunday Times scoop. What was Cameron thinking? No-one, rightly or wrongly, will believe his story.
The Leveson inquiry will also have noticed this ‘Cash for Cameron’ saga as they resume proceedings. The scandal was uncovered with the use of subterfuge and many will argue that there is a strong public interest justification to this story.
In a letter sent by pressure group 38 Degrees to its members it said: “Yesterday, we got yet another glimpse of how corrupt our political system is. “A ban on secret lobbying would help weed out this kind if sleaze.”
The group called for new stricter regulations on lobbying. It wrote: “New rules could force politicians to reveal who they’re meeting and what they talked about.”
Political blogger Guido Fawkes has leaked a feather smoothing letter from Peter Cruddas’s replacement as co-treasurer for the Tories, Stanley Fink here it is in full:
The reaction from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations;
‘The CIPR strongly condemns the notion that cash can gain access to policy makers. Public affairs professionals know the limits of influence, and that a well-argued policy paper sent to Whitehall and Westminster is far more effective than a photograph with the Prime Minister or contact with the Number 10 Policy Unit. The latter access can be achieved through hard work, a well-written argument and knowledge of how policy making really works.
‘The CIPR has long argued for universal transparency for all those involved in lobbying activity and we will continue to do so in its formal written response to the Cabinet Office’s proposals to Introduce a Statutory Register of Lobbyists.’