“Theresa May was schmoozing multi-millionaire Tory donors at the Savoy while Grenfell Tower residents faced homelessness and talks with the DUP stalled, HuffPost UK can reveal.
The Prime Minister spent 50 minutes hobnobbing with Conservative backers at the lavish London hotel on Tuesday, despite aides insisting she was too “busy” for other engagements.
Her appearance comes in the wake of recent terror attacks, as Brexit negotiations open and the day before the Queen’s Speech is put before Parliament.
May was accused of a lack of “humanity” after she dodged survivors of the Grenfell Tower blaze during a swift 15-minute tour of the site in the immediate aftermath.
But at the Savoy event – where tables cost up to £5,000 – the Prime Minister posed for selfies and a bottle of champagne was raffled to raise funds.
Ian Lavery, chairman of the Labour Party, hit out at May’s decision to attend the event, adding: “At a time when the country is facing some of the most difficult and challenging times in recent memory, it speaks volumes of the Prime Minister that her priority was to spend time raising money for the Tories.
“One day before the Queen’s Speech and in the midst of the Brexit negotiations, Theresa May should be focused on providing the leadership this country so badly needs, not wining and dining big Tory donors so that she can refill her party’s election coffers.
“This is yet another example of the appalling lack of judgement and tact she has shown over recent days. The British people deserve a government that will stand up for the many; what they’ve got is a Prime Minister and government that always stands up for the few.”
…At the Savoy event, which HuffPost UK attended, May devoted almost an hour of her time to party members, delivering a lengthy speech and joking the election result “didn’t turn out quite as I planned”.
Guests ate a green asparagus salad with truffle and soft boiled egg, followed by slow roasted salt marsh rump of lamb with caramelised heirloom carrots and a tarragon jus.
Among the guests at the luncheon were a string of wealthy City bankers and Ukrainian-born British businessman Alexander Temerko, who has provided a steady stream of cash to the Tories when David Cameron was leader.
…Conservative association chairman Patrick Evershed pleaded with the super-rich guests to hand over cash before he introduced the prime minister.
He asked those gathered to show “even more generosity” because “times are very tough”.
He said: “This election is not what we all hoped for and it certainly is not what we deserve. Despite that Theresa May got 5% more votes than David Cameron did two years ago.”
“We need a lot more to do even better than we have in the last one, so please be very generous.
“The minimum prescription is 25 but I think several of you here are pretty well off.”
The party received £12.7m in donations between May 3 and June 8, while Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party received £4.5m and the Lib Dems £1.1m.
The Government has also stressed the Prime Minister is making “some progress” in helping Grenfell Tower victims after a fund was set up.”