The row about what should happen to the money given to the Tories in the 1980s by the convicted fraudster Asil Nadir rumbles on. In this morning’s Mail, Lord McAlpine, the former Tory treasurer, said keeping the money would “taint” the party. He said:
It shames the Conservatives if they hang on to it. They have a moral duty to give it back.
He turned the screw on David Cameron himself:
The Tory Party has a duty to return it. It will speak volumes about the character of the modern Tory Party if they don’t do the right thing. I trust that David Cameron is an honourable man.
The former tycoon boasted in the 1990s of having given over £1m to the Tories, but the party says the money came from his company Polly Peck, and had not been stolen. They say this despite reports of a 1993 document from the accountants Touche Ross to Tory HQ which said £365,000 had been stolen.
I have been talking to several Tory MPs today and it seems all this wrangling over the cash is starting to make them uneasy. Two of them said they wanted the party simply to bite the bullet and hand the money back before the row got worse. One told me: