David Cameron feud with Lord Ashcroft: PM 'indulged in drug taking and debauchery', billionaire donor alleges in new book

Lord Ashcroft fell out with the Prime Minister after he was passed over for a leading role in the Coalition Government

Ian Johnston@montaukian
Friday 25 September 2015 09:30
David Cameron has been accused of being a member of another debauched Oxford society apart from the Bullingdon Club
David Cameron has been accused of being a member of another debauched Oxford society apart from the Bullingdon Club

David Cameron has been accused of being a member of another debauched Oxford society apart from the Bullingdon Club, allowing cocaine in his London home and misleading the public over the non-dom status of former Conservative party treasurer Lord Ashcroft in a new biography co-written by the peer.

Lord Ashcroft, who was once close to Mr Cameron, fell out with the Prime Minister after he was passed over for a leading role in the Coalition Government.

The book, Call Me Dave, which was written with journalist Isabel Oakeshott and is to be published next month, makes a number of damaging claims, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

It says that in addition to being a member of the Bullingdon Club while he was studying at Oxford University, Mr Cameron was also in the Piers Gaveston Society, named after the alleged lover of 14th century king, Edward II.

According to the book, Mr Cameron also smoked cannabis with friends who nicknamed themselves the Flam Club while at Oxford and he later allowed cocaine at his home in London.

When asked about taking cannabis previously, Mr Cameron has simply said that he had a “normal university experience”. He has not denied taking cocaine, although has said he has not done so since becoming an MP.

Perhaps more damaging politically is the suggestion that he knew in 2009 that Lord Ashcroft, a major Conservative party donor, had “non dom” status and therefore did not pay UK tax on overseas earnings.

Lord Ashcroft was widely thought to have given up his non-dom status in 2010

In March 2010, after it was publicly revealed that Lord Ashcroft was a non dom, there were claims he was attempting to buy a British election while keeping his assets away from Revenue and Customs. When the story broke, Mr Cameron’s spokesman said the Prime Minister had only known for a month, but Lord Ashcroft’s book says he was made aware the year before.

Lord Ashcroft also suggests Mr Cameron is more interested in holding office, than trying to better the lives of British people.

“Long after he became prime minister, the impression persisted that he was more interested in holding the office than in using its power to achieve anything in particular,” he writes in the preface to the book.

“His laissez-faire approach can create the impression that he is insufficiently concerned by results, and more than once he has appeared so relaxed that he has only stirred to avert disaster at the last minute. But my own particular beef with him is more personal.”

However the book also praises Mr Cameron over the “remarkable achievement” of increasing the number of Conservative MPs by a total of 120 in the last two elections. He is also credited with hard work, finishing all the papers in his ministerial red boxes by 8.30am, when he holds his first daily meeting.

And the book describes how he was turned into a compassionate politician while he was caring for his son Ivan, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy and died in 2009 at the age of six.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “We’re not going to be commenting on any of it.”