There is speculation that a Sunday newspaper will reveal the names of the businessmen who loaned money to the Tories during 2005. Up until now the Conservatives have said that they will not break confidentiality undertakings that were made to their lenders. Lenders to the Tory party apparently fear that, if their identities are revealed, they will be penalised by the Government in any bidding for contracts.
Today’s Times reports suggestions that the Jersey-based Morain Investments is being used to hide a £2m loan that was made to the Conservative Party in the last week of Michael Howard’s unsuccessful General Election campaign. The £2m of extra borrowing was used to finance a last minute advertising offensive.
Editor’s note: "I’m not sure if the most offensive thing was the wastefulness and nature of the dog-whistle advertising campaign itself or how it was financed."
Labour are desperate to turn the media’s fire on to the Tories after enduring a terrible ten days of negative publicity. Cabinet minister Margaret Beckett wrote to David Cameron yesterday asking him to disclose all of the Tory lenders.
Pundits have not been impressed with David Cameron’s handling of the political funding scandal. "This has been David Cameron’s first major test as leader of the opposition, and his performance has at best been useless," was Peter Oborne’s verdict. Andrew Tyrie’s proposal to cut the number of MPs in return for greater state funding of political parties was damned as "more taxation with less representation" by the Daily Mail.
3pm update: IAIN DALE reveals one of the ‘loan Tories’.