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Mitt Romney 'Not Backed By Barclays', Bank Tells MPs

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Barclays has insisted it is not backing Mitt Romney | PA

Barclays has sought to distance itself from the decision by some of its American executives to donate to Mitt Romney, as the Republican presidential candidate visits London as part of a six day foreign tour.

Earlier this month several MPs signed an parliamentary Early Day Motion calling on Barclays executives to stop donating to Romney, following the "destructive" role played by the London bank in the Libor rate-fixing scandal.

The Guardian reports today that Cyrus Ardalan, a vice-chairman of Barclays, has sent a letter to the MPs who signed the motion explaining that the bank did not officially back any one candidate.

"I would like to clarify that all political activity undertaken by Barclays' US employees, including personal fundraising for specific candidates, is done so in a personal capacity, and not on behalf of Barclays," he wrote.

"Barclays is politically non-partisan, makes no political donations nor seeks to influence the political activities of its employees."

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The MPs claimed that at least 15 of Barclays Capital's most senior bankers based in the US have donated the maximum allowable individual donation per election to the Romney campaign and that Barclays' Head of Government Policy and Finance group has already raised $927,000.

Romney is due to holding a fundraising dinner in London today, an event that initially was to be hosted by ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond.

Diamond pulled out of the event in the wake of the rate-fixing scandal that engulfed his bank and eventually cost him his job and was replaced by Patrick Durkin, Barclays' US head of government business relations.

Durkinhas raised $1.1m (£700,700) for Romney's 2012 campaign.

Speaking to The Huffington Post after signing the motion, SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie, attacked the "lobbying merry-go-round" that surrounds Mitt Romney and said the fact that so many Barclays executives had donated to his campaign was "deeply worrying" if not a surprise.

"There need to be proper avenues of accountability and scrutiny between politicians, the banks and the public they serve, not £75,000 per head fundraising dinners in Central London," she said.

Romney is due to meet with David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg today before attending the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday.

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