Doubts about donations

From Mr Brian Tutt

Sir: Lord McAlpine ("Don't waste your time, Lord Nolan", 16 May) seeks to justify the acceptance of money from overseas donors by the Conservative Party by claiming that, as party treasurer, he applied the criteria "would money from this particular source damage us at the polls? If the answer is likely to be yes, do not touch the stuff. If the answer is no, then all should be well."

This rather misses the point. How is a donation likely to damage the party at the polls if the public is unaware of the existence of the donation, never mind of its source? Whether or not a contribution is publicly defensible is irrelevant so long as the current secrecy over the identity of all overseas donors to the Conservative Party persists.

Yours faithfully,


Lecturer in Politics

University of North London

London, N5