LONDON (Bywire News) - In a glamorous soirée tailored for the City of London’s movers and shakers, the Conservative Party rolled out the red carpet last Thursday night at the opulent InterContinental hotel on Park Lane. On the menu? Not just black treacle-cured salmon and rump of Cotswold lamb, but a chance to schmooze with political powerhouses. Yes, you could bid to dine with the UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt or play a round of golf with former Prime Minister David Cameron, among other exclusive experiences, reports The Financial Times.
The party's agenda was clear: to bolster its war chest and court business magnates ahead of what promises to be a challenging campaign for re-election. A six-guest dinner with Jeremy Hunt, along with three of his Tory predecessors—think of it as a 'Chancellors' Assembly'—went under the hammer for a staggering £40,000. The Financial Times reports that the fortunate (or should we say affluent) winning bidders were Conservative donors Selva and Tharshiny Pankaj. Selva Pankaj, the CEO of Regent Group, likened the opportunity to gaining a "mini MBA" from some of Britain's fiscal architects.
While some may view the event as a spectacular networking opportunity, others were less than impressed. One Tory donor took aim at the gala, suggesting that spending tens of thousands of pounds on such auction lots, especially during a time of environmental crisis, could be viewed as "obscene."
Ministers present at the gala, which included more than 300 attendees, side-stepped any conversation on Rishi Sunak’s recent controversial decisions about the UK’s net zero targets. The night had more of a 'business as usual' vibe, emphasising the importance of the business community but offering no new snippets of policy plans.
Also up for grabs were experiences like a “political night in” with Treasury minister John Glen, business secretary Kemi Badenoch, and Sunak's political secretary James Forsyth. A day of shooting was donated by Martin Gilbert, the chair of fintech company Revolut, which has hit a few bumps on its road to obtaining a UK banking licence.
So there you have it. A night of opulence and politics, where the lines between power and money appeared as blurred as ever. Will this high-rolling strategy pay off for the Tories in the upcoming election? Only time will tell. But for now, the Conservatives are hedging their bets with a few sumptuous dinners and a swing on the golf course.