David Cameron and Boris Johnson tennis match to go ahead, says Chris Grayling

The Justice Secretary defended the match secured by a hefty donation

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed that a tennis match between David Cameron and Boris Johnson will go ahead, and defended the controversial £160,000 donation to the Conservative Party which secured the game. 

Mr Grayling rejected claims that donors “buy” party policy. He said the Tories were within their rights to accept the donation made by the wife of a Russian oligarch and former finance Minister to Vladmir Putin, because she is a British citizen.

The Prime Minister has insisted that Vladimir Chernukhin is not a crony of the Russian president, and said it would be “wrong“ to return the money.

The Mayor of London also said it was right that the match should go ahead, but added that a date has not been set.

"It's very important that we don't, as Londoners, start lashing out against all Russians everywhere,“ he said.

"It seems the people in question are not associated with the Putin regime, quite the reverse."

Read more: Boris Johnson's war on diesel
London will have 5G internet that can download a film in a second
Labour takes inspiration from former US President Ronald Reagan

Responding to pressure on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Grayling said: "Well, the tennis match is going ahead because it's a donation from a British woman, a British citizen who is perfectly entitled to make a donation.

"A wide range of people contribute money to the Conservative Party. They have to be legal British donors and in that particular case this was a British woman who happens to be married to a former Russian minister who was sacked by Vladimir Putin 10 years ago.

"When you contribute money to the Conservative Party, you don't buy policy decisions. Those people who contribute money to the Conservative Party... do it because they believe a Conservative government is best for Britain," he added.

Russia President Vladimir Putin, who sacked Chernukhin (Getty/AFP) Russia President Vladimir Putin, who sacked Chernukhin (Getty/AFP)

His comments came ahead of a speech in London in which he attacked Labour, who he argued implemented policies at the request of the unions.

Mr Grayling accused Labour of being involved in "shoddy backroom deals" to devise policy that meets the demands of major donor Unite and its boss Len McCluskey.

"Len McCluskey and his colleagues made Ed Miliband leader, and they now want to make him prime minister," he said.

"Ed Miliband will be more dependent on union money in 2015 than any Labour leader before him. All that money will come with a price. No one seriously believes the union bosses are providing all that cash for nothing."

But Labour shadow cabinet office minister Michael Dugher branded the comments ”absolute garbage“ from the "Tory lie machine".

"Chris Grayling seems to have confused the Labour Party, who never have and never will link donations to policy, with the Conservative Party who have rewarded the few City fat cats - who give them millions of pounds - with tax cuts for millionaires and hedge funds," he said.

Mr McCluskey said: "Even by their own standards of rank hypocrisy, the Tories are today setting a new benchmark for double standards. They denounce trade unions while they fill their pockets with Moscow gold supplied by an ever-increasing number of donations for Russian oligarchs."

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Project Management Support Assistant

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Railway Museum, the largest of its ...

Sauce Recruitment: FP&A Analyst -Home Entertainment

£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Account Manager - OTE £80,000+

£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project