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Michael Dugher MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, has written to the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood to raise a number of questions over the propriety of David Cameron’s decision to provide public support to JCB and its Chairman, Sir Anthony Bamford. 

 

"Dear Sir Jeremy,

As you will know, during David Cameron's recent visit to Brazil, he opened a new JCB factory in Sao Paolo. Meanwhile, back in the UK it has been reported that JCB has laid off around 110 employees at its World Headquarters in Rochester, following the laying off of 200 agency staff in July.

The close financial relationship between JCB, its Chairman Sir Anthony Bamford, and the Conservative Party raises a number of important questions about the propriety of Mr Cameron's decision to provide such public support to the company.

According to the Electoral Commission, since David Cameron became Leader of the Conservative Party it has received a total of £1,973,937.89 in donations from JCB's Chairman Sir Anthony Bamford personally, as well as from JC Bamford Excavators Ltd and JCB Research.

As you know, in March this year it was revealed that a large number of Conservative Party donors, including Sir Anthony Bamford, had been entertained by the Prime Minister in private in Number 10 Downing Street. Sir Anthony and his wife Carole attended a private dinner at Number 10 on 14 July 2010.

Following these revelations, David Cameron announced that he was putting in place "new procedures" so that "if any ministerial contact with a party donor prompts a request for policy advice, the minister will refer this to his or her private office, who can then seek guidance from the Permanent Secretary."

"However, to avoid any perception of undue influence from now on we will put in place new procedures in which if any ministerial contact with a party donor prompts a request for policy advice, the minister will refer this to his or her private office, who can then seek guidance from the Permanent Secretary." (David Cameron, introduction to speech on dementia, 26 March 2012)

Do you consider it appropriate for the Prime Minister to use his office to promote a company which has given the Conservative Party significant financial support? Why was a company which donates to the Conservative Party chosen as the destination of a valuable Prime Ministerial visit, rather than other British companies operating in Brazil?

Did the Prime Minister, other ministers, their offices or Conservative Party officials seek guidance from you on the propriety of a request from JCB, a major party donor, to open a new facility in Brazil? If so, what guidance was given? If not, do you consider that such guidance should have been sought, and should it be sought in future?

The Independent on Sunday reports that "Sir Anthony did not accompany Mr Cameron as part of the official delegation from the UK, instead making his own way out to Brazil". Why was Sir Anthony not part of the official delegation? Was the Prime Minister advised that Sir Anthony should not be part of the official delegation, and if so why?

The Independent on Sunday further reports that "Sir Anthony has lobbied Mr Cameron over cuts to business taxes and for restrictions to workers' rights". Are you aware of such lobbying? Has the Prime Minister or his office sought guidance from you on this lobbying? If so, what guidance was given? If not, do you consider that such guidance should have been sought, and should it be sought in future?

In view of the public interest in this matter, I am releasing this letter to the media.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Dugher MP"

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