The Sunday Times scoop of this pre-Tory Conference weekend is that David Cameron has dinner with party donors. He’s going to eat his way to £5m, with shadow chancellor George Osborne and shadow foreign secretary William Hague looking to raise similar amounts between them.
But so what? Charity-style dinners are likely to remain a constant fixture of senior politicians’ diaries for as long as political parties need to raise money. What matters is whether diners get more than a well presented meal and a handshake.
To find out the Sunday Times deployed a team of four — Jon Ungoed-Thomas, Marie Woolf, Harry Byford and Dominic Tobin — to find out what really goes on. It turns out that donors get, ‘five minutes from David about what they [the Tories] want to do. And then it’s any questions. The donors are treated like an intelligent fan club.’
Meanwhile, ‘Boy George’ and ‘Wee Willy’ are busy advising the Atlantic Bridge, a charity currently being investigated by the Charities Commission, which appears to be set up as a Tory Travel Club. Sadly, the Sunday Times is too busy to cover that one.