David Cameron told he has a 'moral duty' to return Asil Nadir's party donations
Former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine says keeping ‘tainted money’ would be shameful
David Cameron has been told by a former treasurer of the Conservative Party that he has a "moral duty" to hand back "tainted" money previous Tory leaders accepted from the corrupt tycoon, Asil Nadir.
Nadir, who is beginning a 10-year jail sentence for stealing nearly £29m from his Polly Peck business empire, once boasted that he had given the Tories £1m through different routes.
Margaret Thatcher's long-serving press secretary, Sir Bernard Ingham, said he thought she would have repaid the money.
Echoing comments made by Lord McAlpine on the former Tory leader's wishes, he said: "They are going on her general sense of propriety. They can't do more because I'm afraid she doesn't have any short-term memory. They're saying that it's in line with the way she conducted affairs, and I don't think you can say any more."
Lord McAlpine, who was Conservative treasurer from 1975 until 1990, told the Daily Mail: "If Margaret Thatcher was still leader of the party I am absolutely certain she would have ordered the party to repay the lot. I can hear her barking down the phone, 'Alistair, we can't keep that man's money'."
He added: "It is tainted money and it shames the Conservatives if they hang on to it. They have a moral duty to give it back."
Charles Powell, Lady Thatcher's former foreign affairs adviser, echoed the belief that she would have wanted to see the money repaid.
Giving back the money also appears to have support among Tory backbenchers. One told the Financial Times: "It seems the decent and honourable thing to do. We shouldn't just give it back – we should stop having to go to the Asil Nadirs of this world to fund politics. We should be knocking on activists' doors and raising funds like Obama does."
Nadir fled the UK after his business empire collapsed in 1990, and took refuge in Northern Cyprus.
During the years when he was beyond the reach of British law, he told The Independent on Sunday: "The Tories were constantly pestering me for money. I was donating on average £50,000 a time, four times a year. They were always after more."
In 1993, the then Tory chairman, Norman Fowler, confirmed that Nadir had given the party £440,00 via Polly Peck International. He told a Commons committee: "Obviously, if the money was stolen, it will be returned." Lord Fowler did not return calls yesterday.
Sir John Major, who was then the Prime Minister, also told MPs: "If it proves to have been dishonestly obtained and dishonestly remitted to us then of course we will return it." Sir John was abroad yesterday and could not be contacted.
In 1996, it was reported that City accountants Touche Ross, who were responsible for tracking down the money Nadir stole, had written to the Conservatives alleging that £365,000 of the money donated to the party had been stolen from Polly Peck. But a party spokesman said yesterday: "We have no copy of this Touche Ross report – if it ever existed. We have seen no evidence that money donated to the Conservative Party from the Polly Peck group was stolen."
Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
Seth Rogen compiles list of all the celebrities he’s got high with
Oscar Pistorius trial: Photographs of Paralympian splattered in blood after Reeva Steenkamp shooting shown in court
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Satellite ‘pings sent five hours after contact was lost' the only clue in hunt for £160m plane
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: New radar evidence suggests missing plane may have been hijacked
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Sailor who kissed a nurse in famous WWII photograph dies aged 86
- 3 Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...