As I predicted he would this morning, David Cameron has just announced that the Conservatives will publish a list of all private dinners with “significant donors” [a phrase open to interpretation] at Downing Street. In a short statement before his speech on dementia, he said there had been three such dinners in his No.10 flat since May 2010 as well as a post-election dinner at which some of the guests were donors.
It was an inevitable concession – Cameron’s refusal to publish the list gave the media a licence to pursue the story. But the fact the move had to be wrung out of the Tories [Francis Maude described demands for its publication as a “nonsense” on the Today programme this morning] means he will receive little credit for it.
Cameron also vowed to “put in place new procedures in which if any ministerial contact with a party donor prompts a request for policy advice, the minister wil refer this to his or her private office who can then seek guidance from the permanent secretary.”
He ended with some short remarks on party funding reform, promising to accept a cap on individual donations of £50,000 [the recent Kelly report recommended a cap of £10,000] so long as this applies equally to trade unions – the source of 80 per cent of Labour’s funds. We’ll get an indication of Ed Miliband’s thoughts on this subject when he responds to Francis Maude’s Commons statement on party funding at 3:30pm.