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Peter Cruddas Attended Even More Private Dinners Than Previously Thought, Claims Sunday Times

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Peter Cruddas, the disgraced former Tory party treasurer, claimed to have direct access to Prime Minister David Cameron on at least 13 occasions - even bankrolling a dinner at Chequers, it was reported today.

Mr Cruddas was forced to resign last week after he was secretly filmed by undercover reporters from The Sunday Times boasting that he could provide access to Mr Cameron and other ministers and influence over policy for "premier league" donors
giving £250,000 to the party.

In the wake of the disclosures the Conservatives released details of party donors attending dinners and lunches held at the Prime Minister's official residences at No 10 and Chequers.

Today, The Sunday Times - publishing further details from its investigation - said that Mr Cruddas described having direct access to Mr Cameron on at least 13 occasions, including a dinner in London's Belgrave Square on the Prime Minister's birthday.

He was also said to have claimed he served a "ruby murray" - curry - to Mr Cameron's wife, Samantha, when she was his dinner companion at a charity event at Chequers, which he sponsored.

Although the event, on October 15 last year, was mentioned on the list released by the Conservatives, no reference was made to Mr Cruddas's involvement.

In a statement, the Conservative Party said: "Over last weekend there was speculation about dinners in the Prime Minister's flat in Downing Street.

"In response to this, the Conservative Party published details of occasions when significant donors had lunch or dinner in official residences used by the Prime Minister, ie Downing Street and Chequers.

"The Conservative Party never claimed that it was publishing details of every occasion the Prime Minister had met with a donor and explicitly did not publish details of the Chequers charity opera event in aid of Mencap and other smaller charities.

"This was attended by a large number of people, including donors to both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. It is a longstanding event, organised by a fundraising committee and it raised £1 million for the charities."

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Money for something

In my days as Tory party chairman, donor-gate could never have happened