IoS exclusive:

IoS exclusive: Cameron in crony row over Brazil factory

Prime Minister faces questions in Commons after cutting ribbon at Sao Paulo plant for Tory donor and friend

David Cameron was embroiled in a fresh party funding row last night after he opened a factory in Brazil belonging to one of the Conservatives' largest donors.

The Prime Minister is to face questions in Parliament over the decision to put Sir Anthony Bamford's JCB factory in Sao Paulo at the centre of his trip to the South American country.

Mr Cameron took representatives from 58 UK businesses in his delegation for the two-day visit, which followed a trip to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly. But the centrepiece of the Brazil leg was a tour of the factory owned by Sir Anthony's global construction giant.

JCB said it had invited Mr Cameron to open the factory some time ago. The trip was arranged through the British embassy in Brazil and UK Trade and Investment, a government agency. The businessman personally showed the Prime Minister around the £60m plant in Sorocaba, near Sao Paulo, on Thursday. Sir Anthony did not accompany Mr Cameron as part of the official delegation from the UK, instead making his own way out to Brazil.

Mr Cameron faces questions over whether officials were aware that he would be opening a factory by one of the Tory party's biggest donors. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Michael Dugher is to table a series of questions in Parliament after the party conferences.

Mr Dugher said: "David Cameron has learnt nothing from the cash-for-access scandal, when his chief fundraiser was boasting of dinners for wealthy donors. Now it looks like it's government trips to help rich Tory donors. People are losing their jobs and feeling the squeeze back home, yet we have an out-of-touch Prime Minister who only wants to stand up for his cronies."

Sir Anthony, 66, who has donated £2m to the Tories personally or through his firm, is said to be in line for a peerage on the next House of Lords list. Sir Anthony and his wife, Carole, are fellow members of the Chipping Norton set and live near to the Camerons' home in West Oxfordshire. Sir Anthony was one of the top donors who were entertained for dinner at Downing Street following the election. In 2006, as leader of the opposition, Mr Cameron opened a JCB factory in India.

On the trip to the Brazil factory, Mr Cameron said: "This visit is about British jobs, British growth and the British economy, because I want Britain to be tied up to the fastest-growing economies on the planet. This visit is about safeguarding and creating 3,000 jobs back at home."

Last year, JCB won a Brazilian government contract worth £60m to provide 1,000 backhoe loaders for road construction in the country, and the firm hopes to secure some of the forthcoming £20bn worth of infrastructure projects in Brazil. The Sao Paulo factory will produce diggers and backhoe loaders which are expected to generate £100m in orders from JCB's British factories.

During the two-day trip to Brazil, Mr Cameron visited Rio de Janeiro to see plans for the 2016 Olympics and met President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia. Mr Cameron, the first British premier to visit Brazil since Gordon Brown in 2009, also took executives from six defence companies, including BAE Systems, as part of his delegation, to encourage sales of British military equipment.

Sir Anthony has lobbied Mr Cameron over cuts to business taxes and for restrictions to workers' rights. In his speech to the Tory conference last year, Mr Cameron mentioned just one company by name – JCB.

Downing Street said the trip was arranged through UKTI and the British embassy in Brazil, but it is not clear whether the original invitation from JCB was backed up by a personal offer from Sir Anthony. Yet in 2002, when Tony Blair was mired in controversy over the Lakshmi Mittal affair, senior Conservatives demanded a full inquiry. Mr Blair had supported Mr Mittal's bid to buy the state-owned steel industry, which came a year after Mr Mittal gave £125,000 to Labour.

The then shadow foreign secretary, Michael Ancram, said a full inquiry was needed, saying: "We have seen a series of these allegations over Tony Blair's time in government, that giving large sums of money to the Labour Party ends up with the government either changing its policy or withdrawing a moratorium or, as in this case, trying to help the person involved to do business."

A spokesman for Downing Street said last night: "As he said during his trip, the Prime Minister went to Brazil to bang the drum for British business. JCB is an example of a British company doing well in Brazil, highlighted by the opening of their new factory, so it was appropriate for the Prime Minister to use his visit to showcase this success story."

A JCB spokesman said: "An official request, inviting the Prime Minister to open JCB's new factory in Brazil, was made some time ago. The completion of the factory coincided with a UKTI trade mission to Brazil and, as the Prime Minister was leading this mission in support of British business, he was able to accept the invitation. We are delighted he came to open the factory and show the Government's support for a well-established British success story."

Chipping Norton set: The Bamford family

Sir Anthony Bamford and his family are estimated to be worth anything from £1bn to £3bn. He and his wife, Lady Carole, live just outside Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire on a 1,500-acre Cotswold estate. With an additional 4,500 acres at Wootton in Staffordshire, a town house in London, and homes in Heron Bay in Barbados and Château de Léoube estate in Provence, they have done well out of British manufacturing.

The landowning industrialist is on first name terms with the Prince of Wales, David Cameron and Tony Blair. He and his wife recently held a party in support of Rebekah and Charlie Brooks, whom they introduced. Six months ago it was reported that it was "only a matter of time" before Sir Anthony, 66, received a peerage. He is thought to have been nominated for one two years ago, but the plan was blocked by a parliamentary watchdog. Sir Anthony insisted his affairs were "completely in order".

Lady Bamford runs Daylesford Organic, which includes a farm shop on their Oxfordshire estate where well-heeled locals shop. "Organic was considered a bit hippy. I've taken it to a level that it hadn't reached before," she has said.

Sir Anthony has long supported the Conservative Party, either in person or through his companies, although in the mid-1990s he expressed admiration for Tony Blair and invited him to the family house in Barbados. His brother, with whom he has been fighting in court over ownership of JCB research, has also given money to the Tories.

One local described Sir Anthony yesterday as "basically a good man, but maybe not that worldly-wise".

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
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

Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java,Artificial Intelligence)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...

C++ Quant Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Java/Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...

SQL Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York