Boris brand loses 60% of its value at auction

After a fierce bidding war, the dinner with Boris Johnson and the two leaders he helped get rid of — David Cameron and Theresa May — went for £120,000 to an undisclosed bidder. However, in perhaps a sign of flagging donor enthusiasm for “face time” with the party’s big names after 12 years in power, it was still some way off the £300,000 paid for dinner with Johnson after he became prime minister in July 2019.

Awkward reunion ahead for Boris Johnson and former PMs at donor dinner

Oliver Wright www.thetimes.co.uk 

Dave doesn’t much like Boris and Boris doesn’t much like Dave. Theresa really doesn’t like either of them — and isn’t very good at hiding it.

Now one lucky Tory donor will have the privilege of watching the past decade of Conservative psychodrama play out in front of them over a three-course dinner.

The “prize” was the star attraction at the Tory fundraising dinner at the V&A museum in South Kensington last night [Monday], which included an Abba tribute band and a host of cabinet ministers under strict instruction to turn on the charm for the party’s donor base.

After a fierce bidding war, the dinner with Boris Johnson and the two leaders he helped get rid of — David Cameron and Theresa May — went for £120,000 to an undisclosed bidder. However, in perhaps a sign of flagging donor enthusiasm for “face time” with the party’s big names after 12 years in power, it was still some way off the £300,000 paid for dinner with Johnson after he became prime minister in July 2019.

Those attending the event included the property tycoon Nick Candy and the former investment banker Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband Vladimir is a former chairman of the Russian state development corporation VEB.RF, which has been placed under sanctions by the UK.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the party has faced calls to return more than £2 million that Chernukhin has given it over the years. It has refused to do so.

Chernukhin has a reputation as a big bidder at fundraisers. She previously paid £160,000 for the chance to play tennis with Cameron and Johnson in 2014, and £135,000 to have dinner with May and six of her cabinet ministers in 2019.

Those attending the V&A dinner had to run a gauntlet of boos after dozens of workers from the Public and Commercial Services Union and the former shadow chancellor John McDonnell turned up to picket the event.

Inside guests dined on salmon tartare followed by beef with asparagus mash, and finished off with passion fruit meringues. Premium tables for ten went for £20,000 each and standard ones for £12,500, with guests including Priti Patel, Liz Truss and Sajid Javid as well as Johnson.

Auction prizes also included an African safari trip sold for £65,000, a shooting weekend for £37,000, and a wine tasting for £30,000.

A Conservative spokesman told The Spectator: “Fundraising is a legitimate part of the democratic process. The alternative is more taxpayer-funding of political campaigning, which would mean less money for frontline services like schools, police and hospitals — or else, being in the pocket of union barons, like the Labour Party.”

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