A Conservative Party treasurer was last night forced to resign after being filmed offering secret meetings with the Prime Minister in return for annual donations of £250,000.
In deeply damaging revelations, The Sunday Times obtained footage of Peter Cruddas boasting to Sarah Southern, a lobbyist, and two reporters posing as overseas clients, that they could get access to David Cameron by entering the "Premier League" of donors. "It will be awesome for your business," Mr Cruddas claimed.
"You do really pick up a lot of information," he was filmed saying. "But within that room everything is confidential – you can ask him practically any question you want."
In resigning, Mr Cruddas said: "I deeply regret any impression of impropriety arising from my bluster in that conversation. It was categorically not the case that I could offer, or that David Cameron would consider, any access as a result of a donation."
A Tory party source said last night that Mr Cruddas "regrets what happened" and had only been in the job for less than four weeks. The party stressed he had been exaggerating his role.
Labour MP Michael Dugher said: "Time and again the Tory party has been the obstacle to capping donations from wealthy individuals. It's obvious why."