Big Portillo party 'mainly a fundraiser for Tories'

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SUPPORTERS of Michael Portillo yesterday moved to distance him from plans for a massive party to mark his 10th anniversary as an MP.

They said a celebration involving 600 guests was intended primarily as a local fund-raising drive, rather than to praise the achievements of the Secretary of State for Employment.

Malcolm Tyndall, his political agent, said in a statement: 'The Enfield Southgate Conservative Association has been very surprised to read the press reportage of a fund-raising event to mark our MP's 10th anniversary.

'Major fund-raising events by Conservative associations are not unusual and we feel that this is a good occasion for a party.

'The details and scope of the event were unknown to Michael Portillo and intended as a surprise for him.'

Newspaper reports at the weekend gave the impression that the proposed 2 December event at Alexandra Palace, north London, was aimed at raising Mr Portillo's public profile.

The Sunday Telegraph said Mr Tyndall was writing to businesses asking for sponsorship and promising fireworks set to music interweaved with film clips of Mr Portillo's career. But Mr Tyndall said yesterday that no details had been finalised and the plans had been 'blown right out of proportion'.

(Photograph omitted)

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