Most voters see Tories as the party of the rich

Fresh blow to Cameron as fallout from 'cash for access' scandal boosts Labour

The cash-for-access scandal engulfing David Cameron has inflicted deep damage on the Conservative Party's standing, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent.

The polling gives Labour a 10-point lead over the Tories, the highest in a ComRes survey for seven years. But, significantly, in interviews conducted since the affair emerged on Sunday, Labour was a remarkable 17 points ahead.

In the 337 interviews conducted on Saturday, before the cash-for-access revelations, Labour enjoyed a lead of only four points. Labour was on 39 per cent, the Tories on 35 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 11 per cent. But in the 350 interviews that took place on Sunday and yesterday, after the disclosures, Labour was 17 points ahead. Labour was on 47 per cent, the Tories on 30 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 11 per cent.

The survey also found two out of three people regard the Tories as "the party of the rich" as a result of last week's Budget, which cut the 50p top rate of tax on incomes over £150,000 a year while imposing a "granny tax" on pensioners.

Tory modernisers fear Mr Cameron's drive to "detoxify" his party could be undermined by the combination of the Budget and the revelation that the Tories' treasurer Peter Cruddas offered potential donors dinner in the Prime Minister's Downing Street apartment if they gave £250,000 to the party.

Mr Cameron tried to draw a line under the affair by publishing a list of Tory donors he entertained at both No 10 and Chequers, his official country residence. But he was criticised for refusing to make a Commons statement on the affair or take questions from journalists on it.

Labour will today keep up the pressure on the Prime Minister by challenging him over Mr Cruddas's suggestion to undercover reporters from The Sunday Times that the Tories might be able to find a way round the law banning foreign donations. It also emerged that:

* One of Mr Cameron's private dinner guests runs an oil trading company that stands to make millions from the new British-backed government in Libya. He had given £50,000 to the party.

* Another invitee gave an interview in which he said he "had it first-hand" from "very senior" members of the Government that Mr Cameron would oppose a European financial transaction tax.

* Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the anti-sleaze watchdog, rejected as "much too high" Mr Cameron's proposal to bring in a £50,000 cap on individual donations to political parties.

* The Conservatives paid for some functions at Chequers attended by donors, leaving the party open to criticism this was a reward for giving money to it.

On a torrid day for the Conservatives, Downing Street was forced to release a list of 12 major donors who were invited with their partners to four dinners in Mr Cameron's flat. Between them the guests had given or lent the party almost £18m since Mr Cameron became leader. A second list of five donors invited for lunches at Chequers was released later.

According to the lists, those entertained at Downing Street included Michael Spencer, head of the biggest broker of financial transactions in London, who was invited to Mr Cameron's flat for dinner last month. Mr Spencer has given more than £3m to the Conservatives through his company and £200,000 personally.

A few weeks earlier he gave an interview to a financial magazine in which he said he had it on first-hand authority that Mr Cameron would veto a financial transaction tax.

The other invitees included:l Ian Taylor, head of oil trading firm Vitol, who played a vital role in helping Libyan rebels by supplying them with petrol for their vehicles.

* JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford, who has donated £70,000 to the Tories since Mr Cameron became leader while his company has given almost £1.7m.

* The financier Michael Farmer, who has given around £2.5m and tycoon Michael Hintze, who gave more than £1.2m.

In remarks before making a speech on dementia, Mr Cameron confirmed that in future the Conservatives would publish a register of major donors.

The Government dispatched Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, to make a statement in the Commons to shield Mr Cameron from Labour demands he address MPs.

Amid rowdy scenes, Ed Miliband accused Mr Cameron of showing "utter contempt" for the Commons by failing to attend. "I think we all know why," the Labour leader said. "He has got something to hide." He called for an inquiry.

Mr Maude was almost drowned out by Labour shouts of "Where's Cameron?" He said Conservatives were ready to accept a cap on donations, but only if it applied not only to individuals and companies but to trade unions too – which Labour has resisted.

In a sign of how damaging the episode has been to the Conservative Party's reputation among its donors as well as the public, Lord Fink, who agreed to replace Mr Cruddas, wrote to donors to "apologise profusely for the embarrassment and reputational damage caused".

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'
tv
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
life
Life & Style
fashion
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit