Super-rich donors paid thousands to attend the lavish Tory Summer Party, held at London’s V&A museum, where they rubbed shoulders with Cabinet ministers, party chiefs and the PM
Boris Johnson auctioned off a cozy dinner with himself, Theresa May and David Cameron for £120,000 as he begged Tory donors to fill his election war chest.
Super-rich donors paid thousands to attend the lavish Tory Summer Party, held at London’s V&A museum, where they rubbed shoulders with Cabinet ministers, party chiefs and the PM.
Cabinet members in attendance at the bash included Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Welfare Secretary Therese Coffey and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
Millionaire property mogul Nick Candy and his wife, former Neighbors star Holly Vallance, also attended.
George Cracknell Wright/LNP)
And Lubov Chernukhin, the biggest female political donor in British history, also attended the posh do.
In auctions at previous events, Ms Chernukhin has won tennis matches with Mr Johnson and Mr Cameron, a “girls’ night out” with Mrs May and Ms Truss and a private dinner with then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in the Churchill War Rooms.
Prices ranged from £12,500 for a “standard” table, up to £20,000 to sit next to a Cabinet minister.
Labor party chair Anneliese Dodds told the Mirror: “The cash for access culture created by Boris Johnson raises serious questions about who is really pulling the strings in the Conservative Party.”
The party fund-raising event began with a drinks bash in the museum’s courtyard for 250 assorted Government ministers, wealthy donors and Tory advisors.
Tory insiders at the event said Mr Johnson, who had a minor operation on his sinuses earlier in the day under general anaesthetic, gave a “short and funny” address to donors, followed by speeches by Cabinet minister Michael Gove and co-party chairman Ben Elliott.
The PM’s spokesman said his operation had not required his doctors to sign off his attendance at the event.
George Cracknell Wright/LNP)
He added: “My understanding is that he was there for a relatively brief period of time.”
But he was later spotted, along with much of the Cabinet, at Rupert Murdoch’s summer party at the Serpentine Gallery.
Guests at the V&A were treated to an online auction as they were served a starter of salmon tartare followed by beef with asparagus mash, with passionfruit meringues for dessert.
Other items in the auction included a safari trip which sold for around £65,000, a weekend of shooting in Market Harborough which raised £37,000 and a wine tasting which went for £30,000.
Tickets to see Chelsea play Arsenal sold for £5,000.
Former Tory Treasurer Howard Lee, raising money for the Tory plan to hold onto 80 marginal seats and win a further 20 at the next election, asked people to “stand up to donate £500”.
Several sat back down quickly when asked them to “stay standing to donate £1,000″, according to reports.
A band played ABBA songs at the event. A source told Politico: “It was like a school disco band. There were one or two people making slightly boogie-looking moves but no one was fully committed to dancing.”
Another added: “If there’s one thing the country thinks the Tories do well it’s throwing parties – and ironically this wasn’t much of one.”
A third insider told the website: “I’ve had better Monday nights.”
Meanwhile outside the venue, Labour’s former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell joined a picket organized by the museum’s PCS union branch.
Protesters shouted “shame on you” as donors, party figures and ministers arrived at the exclusive dinner.
One donor arriving at the event told protesters to “get a job!”