Fund-raising dinners on the Tory menu

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Indy Politics
FUND-RAISING dinners with the Prime Minister at Downing Street are being offered to key businessmen to overcome the Conservative Party's pounds 15m overdraft, writes Colin Brown.

Conservative Party officials denied the decision to hold the dinners marked any change of policy by John Major. 'He is the leader of the party. Clearly he will meet with supporters,' a spokesman said.

The Prime Minister is spearheading the party's drive to reverse the steep decline in corporate donations that contributed to the crisis in the party's finances. It follows the decision by Sir Norman Fowler, the party chairman and a close friend of Mr Major, to shake up Central Office, with a chief executive and two new party treasurers, Charles Hambro and Sir Philip Harris.

Baroness Thatcher has promised to attend other fund-raising events for the party, following criticism that the Thatcher Foundation was attracting funds which otherwise might have gone to the party.