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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker