Thatcher invited Nadir to 6 functions at Downing Street: Fugitive attended charity events at No 10

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The Independent Online
ASIL NADIR attended six No 10 functions between 1984 and 1989 at the invitation of Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister said last night.

The fugitive businessman made six contributions amounting to pounds 440,000 to the Conservative Party between 1985 and 1990. In a written Commons reply, John Major told Tony Banks, Labour MP for Newham North West, that after 1984 Nadir had attended 'a dinner and a reception for the NSPCC; a reception for the Harold Macmillan Trust; a lunch for the President of Turkey; and two lunches for industrialists'.

Mr Banks also asked how many functions 'to raise money for political parties' had been held at No 10 since 1980.

The Prime Minister said: 'Under this and previous administrations, a variety of functions have been held at 10 Downing Street where the costs have been met by political parties.

'The purpose of such functions is not a matter for the Government, but I can confirm that since November 1990 (when he succeeded Baroness Thatcher), there have been no functions at 10 Downing Street at which funds have been raised for political parties, or for which tickets have been sold for the benefit of political parties.'

However, there was no suggestion that funds were raised for the Tories at any of the No 10 functions Nadir attended, or that tickets had been 'sold' for Tory benefit.

Nor was it clear what Mr Major meant by his reference to 'this' administration - whether that dated from last year's election; his own 1990 succession; or the return of the Conservative government in 1979.

That ambiguity was underlined by a further answer, in which Mr Major said: 'Ministers under this and previous administrations have been allowed - at their own or party expense - to host non-official or party receptions or functions in Downing Street.'

Answering another question from Mr Banks, in which he was asked to name the charities that had benefited from No 10 functions since 1984 - which by definition excluded the Conservative Party - Mr Major limited his answer to his own term of office, saying: 'There have been a total of 25 receptions, dinners or other functions at 10 Downing Street for charities or voluntary bodies.'

They were: the NSPCC; Surrey County Cricket Club Youth Trust; Lords Taverners; Mencap; Age Concern; Eureka; Wordsworth Trust; Huntingdon Disease Association; Action Research; Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust; National Council of Hospice and Specialist Palliative Care; Crossroads Care (twice); Animal Health Trust; ORT; Youth Clubs (UK); Child Line; Sliver Trust; Marie Curie Cancer Care; Excaliber Scheme; Motability; Westminster Foundation for Democracy; London Community Cricket Association; International Spinal Research Trust; and Cambridge Arts Theatre Trust.