Over the weekend the Sunday Times released video footage of Peter Cruddas, Conservative Party co-treasurer boasting that a £250,000 donation gave “premier league” access to party leaders, including private dinners with PM David Cameron and Chancellor George Osbourne. You can watch the secret filming of Cruddas here
Ed Miliband MP, Labour Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition, has slammed these revelations saying:
“These are very disturbing revelations. The Conservative Party has been seeking cash in exchange for access to the Prime Minister and Chancellor and indeed influence over policy making. It’s no way to run a Government or a political party and these allegations can’t be swept under the carpet. There needs to be a proper independent investigation into influence was sought, what influence was gained and what impact it had.
“It can’t just be an internal Conservative investigation sweeping it under the carpet and keeping it out of the public view. There can’t just be an internal Conservative Party inquiry into itself. This has got to be an independent investigation into what happened, what influence was sought over policy making, whether any influence was had or access was gained to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. This is very serious for our democracy because we need to have the highest standards in our public life and what we’ve heard about today really falls way below the standards the British people are right to expect.
“These allegations concern the way that policy is made - including in a Budget last week where the tax rate has been cut at the top of the income scale.
“The independent investigation should look at what happened at the Downing Street Policy Unit because apparently offers were made or cash was paid so that the people donating money would be able to have access to it.
“I think people are bound to ask questions about whether policy is being made in the national interest or the Conservative Party’s interest. That’s why these allegations are so serious, that’s why there needs to be a statement made in the House of Commons and a proper independent investigation on what happened, who knew what, when and what contributions were made.
“This goes to the heart of the way the policy is made because it goes to the heart of Downing Street, it goes to the heart of the way that decisions are made in our democracy.”