Guardian.co.uk – The Tories were accused last night of being bankrolled by a City ‘wolf pack’ after it emerged that the party was receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds from hedge fund managers who have been making vast sums of money from plunging bank shares.
After the Financial Services Authority had, in effect, barred the controversial practice of short-selling bank stocks and the Treasury was forced to draw up a rescue package for Bradford and Bingley, it emerged that a small group of City financiers who have made fortunes from falling stock markets are paying at least £50,000 a year to the party.
Their donations entitle them to membership of an elite supporters club called the Leaders Group, which bestows invitations to functions attended by David Cameron, something that has prompted allegations that the Tory leader is supporting ‘cash for access’. Last night, in an attempt to quell a mounting row over the party’s finances ahead of this week’s conference, the party put details of the Leaders Group on its website.
It has also emerged the Conservatives have continued to receive money from Lord Laidlaw, a Monaco-based tax exile who has given the party more than £3m. One donation came after the fact that he had taken part in orgies with prostitutes was exposed in the tabloids.