Diary: What price to dine with the Prime Minister?

 

Donations of £250,000 a year will buy you dinner with David Cameron, the Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas told undercover reporters in March. He had to resign as soon as his words – which Mr Cameron described as "completely unacceptable" – appeared in The Sunday Times.

But judging from the latest figures released yesterday by the Electoral Commission, where Mr Cruddas got it wrong was that he set the price too high. Labour researchers went through the list of Tory donors from the first three months of this year and found nine who are known to have been the Prime Minister's guests at lunches or dinners in Downing Street or Chequers. The amounts they donated over the quarter ranged from £12,500, which the Swiss-born stockbroker Henry Angest donated through Flowidea, a company he controls, to £183,950, given by the hedge-fund manager, Michael Farmer, a party co-treasurer. Other donor-diners were Anthony Bamford, whose companies gave £25,000 and £70,000; the billionaire Michael Hintze, who gave £41,500; the financier Howard Leigh, who gave £16,500; the hedge-fund manager Sir Paul Ruddock, who gave £50,000; the City tycoon and former Tory treasurer Michael Spencer, who gave £82,723; Ian Taylor, who heads the world's largest oil trader, Vitol, who gave £35,000; and Stanley Fink, a Tory peer and hedge-fund manager, who gave £43,240.

Mr Cruddas, who founded the online trading company CMC, is not among those listed as having eaten at Mr Cameron's table, despite being the most generous donor of the lot. He gave £215,243.90.

Plagiarism? Clegg just failed, again

Compare and contrast: "We must reject the snobbery that says the only route to social mobility runs through University... We need to ensure vocational education is seen as just as much of a gold standard as academic education." So said Ed Miliband, speaking to the Sutton Trust on Monday.

"For too long there's been a barely disguised snobbery that says once you leave school, the only good thing to do is go to university. We have to value vocational education just as much as academic studies." So Nick Clegg wrote in the The Sun yesterday.

Labour is suggesting that the Deputy Prime Minister is guilty of plagiarism – especially as he too gave a speech to the Sutton Trust on social mobility, but never mentioned vocational training. Perhaps it is simply a case of great minds.

Our bark can be worse for a bite

Alfred Harmsworth, founder of the Daily Mail, is reputed to have said that when a dog bites a man it is not news, but when a man bites a dog, it is. I am not sure where that leaves the warning issued this week by Hackney Council about the environmental damage caused by dogs biting and scratching trees.

Not hanging around...

The ever restless Ben Fogle – adventurer, writer and TV presenter – has found an original way to deal with the mid-life crisis that will inevitably be upon him when he hits 40 next year. He is proposing to swim across the Atlantic for charity, carrying sensors to allow scientists to study the ocean surface. He tells me that it will not happen until next year, but he is going public today to stop himself having second thoughts.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn