Tories quiet on who loaned them cash

THE Conservatives have refused to disclose the identity of wealthy backers who lent the party large sums of money, leading to suspicions that some of the people may be resident overseas.

THE Conservatives have refused to disclose the identity of wealthy backers who lent the party large sums of money, leading to suspicions that some of the people may be resident overseas.

Party treasurer Jonathan Marland said last night that he saw no reason to follow Labour's example and publish the names of individual lenders.

“Labour are in a very big hole, of course. We are not in the same hole,” said Mr Marland. “They are embroiled in a serious mess relating to promises they have given to people who have lent them money.

“We are not in this mess because we are not in power. We don't have patronage to give and we are not in the same position.'

Mr Marland confirmed all loans received by the party complied with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act. But he declined to say whether any of the loans came from overseas - foreign donations are outlawed under the Act although it does not cover loans.

“I am not prepared under any circumstances to disclose where the loans come from. It is a very, very good mechanism for us to help our cash flow. We could go to the bank and borrow within our limits. We prefer not to because you never know quite when you need an overdraft facility.”

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Last night Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott - who was kept in the darm over Labour's loans - called on Tory leader David Cameron to publish details of all Conservative Party loans.

Mr Prescott MP: “Following Labour's decision in the interests of transparency to publish the full list of names and amounts of all the loans received, we call on David Cameron to match his words on openness with actions by publishing details of all the Tories' loans.

“The Conservative Party has referred queries about loans it has received to its annual accounts for 2004. However the Tories have not revealed the total amount of all the loans received by the party since the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act came into force, including the figures for 2005 - neither has it so far revealed the names of those who gave loans.”

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