British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised an inquiry following the release of a secret video showing a senior official offering access to the PM for the equivalent of 300,000 euros.
The Sunday Times footage shows Peter Cruddas, the co-treasurer of the UK’s centre-right Conservative party, telling undercover reporters – posing as international financiers – that they could lobby Cameron directly.
Cameron told reporters on the sideline of a charity event on Sunday: “What happened is completely unacceptable. This is not the way we raise money in the Conservative party. I will make sure there is a proper party inquiry to make sure this can’t happen again.”
The reporters were told the large sum would get them so-called “premier league” access to Downing Street and forward questions to the government’s policy committee. Cameron’s political opponents have seized on the revelations.
“I think there will be four and a half million pensioners, small businesses across the country, families facing tax rises saying: Why aren’t we in the ‘premier league’? Is it only people with money and influence who get a hearing?” said Ed Balls, Britain’s shadow finance minister for the Labour party.
Peter Cruddas, the senior official caught out in the video, resigned on Sunday.
Political analysts think the scandal could weaken Britain’s fragile coalition. Part of the Conservatives agreement with coalition partners the Liberal Democrats vows to “remove big money from politics.”