Action not bluster is needed from the government on "Cash for Cameron" questions, says a major UK campaign for political reform.
Commenting on revelations in the Sunday Times newspaper regarding former Conservative co-treasurer Peter Cruddas’ offers of access to David Cameron in exchange for donations to the party, Unlock Democracy Director Peter Facey said that fudging party funding and lobbying transparency was unacceptable. "We need the government to take urgent action," he declared.
Mr Facey continued: “Peter Cruddas is on the record for not merely offering access for cash, but for offering actual policy influence. The fact that he felt confident about making such an offer suggests that this culture is ingrained within the Conservative Party. One resignation will not be anything like enough. Nor are the Conservatives the only party to be implicated: we have seen dozens of similar stories do the rounds in the recent past."
“The suggestion that party donors have been wined and dined in Downing Street is especially serious; if this proves to be the case then government assets have been used to subsidise the Conservatives’ fundraising operation," continued the Unlock Democracy director.
“The government has no more excuses for inaction on this. The Committee on Standards in Public Life have called for a £10,000 cap on donations to parties. Instead of playing for time, David Cameron and Nick Clegg should move swiftly to introduce this. They should announce plans for a robust register of lobbying activity to ensure that covert ‘private dinners’ with ministers are publicly declared and stop insulting us with the fatally flawed proposals they published in January," he said.
“Famously, David Cameron declared before the election that covert lobbying was the next big scandal waiting to happen. He knew what the stakes were. Every day he fails to sort this mess out, his very competence and integrity are brought further into question. This ought to worry him very deeply indeed,” declared Mr Facey.
Unlock Democracy is a leading UK campaign for political reform and is a member of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency.
In January 2012, the civil servant in charge of government policy on lobbying reform was forced to resign after after calling for Unlock Democracy to "die" on Twitter.
* Unlock Democracy: http://unlockdemocracy.org.uk