“A Tory minister has dodged a question asking him why Russians donate to his party and what they expect in return.
The Conservatives have received more than £820,000 in political donations from Russian oligarchs since Theresa May became Prime Minister.
This includes a £30,000 from the wife of a former Putin crony to dine with the defence secretary.
The widow of the murdered spy Alexander Litvinenko called on the Tories to return the donations telling the Prime Minister: “You need to be very careful who you are friends with.”
Transport secretary Chris Grayling was representing the government on Question Time.
But he ignored the question posed by presenter David Dimbleby who asked: “The point is why do they want to give money to the Tory Party, what do they get back from giving money to the Tory Party?”
Mr Grayling replied: “You can’t accept money from people who are not UK citizens or UK businesses.”
Russia Today presenter Afshin Rattansi hit back saying: “The wife of the former deputy finance minister, Putin’s former deputy finance minister Lubov Chernukhin at a fundraising event for Gavin Williamson the defence secretary of this country who protects national security in this country.”
Earlier this week Jeremy Corbyn was accused of politicising the Salisbury poison attack for criticising Russian donations to the Tory Party.
He told the House of Commons: “We’re all familiar with the way huge fortunes, often acquired in the most dubious circumstances in Russia, sometimes connected with criminal elements, have ended up sheltering in London and trying to buy political influence in British party politics,” he said.
“Meddling in elections, as the prime minister put it, and there has been over £800,000 worth of donations to the Conservative Party from Russian oligarchs and their associates.”
This evening Chris Grayling had no answer as to why those Oligarchs are so keen to donate to the Conservatives.
Instead he parroted the line about his party following electoral law saying: “We have clear rules about political donations, we follow those rules, they are properly scrutinised.
“What we must not do, we have a lot of people who are Russian, who are now UK citizens who live in London who’ve actually left Russia.”
He continued to say that those people should not be tarred with the same brush but he was interrupted by Afshin Rattansi who said: “This is the wife of the former deputy finance minister, where do you think she got the £30,000 to give the defence secretary?”
The Daily Mirror reported last month that the Tories had accepted £30,000 from the wife of a former crony of Vladimir Putin to dine with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson .
The money was given by Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to ex-Russian deputy finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin, after she made a successful bid at last week’s Tory lavish Black and White Ball.
Her prize includes a private tour of Churchill’s War Rooms in Whitehall by the defence secretary before he hosts a dinner for her and a group of friends.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Conservatives had repeatedly opposed Labour plans for tackling financial crime by Russians in the UK.
“Over the last two years the Tories have repeatedly opposed our plans for smashing money laundering by the oligarchs,” he wrote on Twitter.”