The Staggers 13 February 2011 Tories auction off City internships to raise funds Supporters pay thousands to get their children work experience in hedge funds and banks. Sign UpGet the New Statesman\'s Morning Call email. Sign-up The Conservative Party banned the press from its Black and White Party (it used to be a "ball"), but that hasn't stopped the news leaking that it raised funds there by auctioning work experience opportunities with banks and hedge funds. The Mail on Sunday reports that lots at the £400-a-head party included five internships at City firms, which raised £14,000 in all. The Labour MP Tom Watson told the Mail: "This is a crass example of rich Tories buying privilege. Most young people could only dream of this opportunity. The Conservatives flog them like baubles and fill their coffers with the profits. It is obscene." Andrew Marr commented on his show this morning: "This money is going to be used by the Conservative Party, presumably, to tell us we're all in it together." His guest Mark Malloch Brown added: "They have to be really careful, because their only way to get through the next few years is maintaining that assertion – we're all in it together – and the more . . . that gets breached, this kind of rich person's club, buying internships at hedge funds gets exposed, the harder it's going to be to promote this One-Nation coalition government." The Tory party refused to comment to the Mail on Sunday, saying that the event was a private one. › Laurie Penny on Julie Burchill’s imperialist froth over Israel Helen Lewis is a former deputy editor of the New Statesman, who is now a staff writer on the Atlantic. She is the author of Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights (Jonathan Cape). Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!