How Much Does It Cost to Meet British PM David Cameron?

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British Prime Minister David Cameron is pictured at the front door of 10 Downing Street in London, on November 16, 2011, as he awaits the arrival of Serbian President Boris Tadic. The Bank of England on Wednesday cut its forecasts for British economic growth, saying the "single biggest risk" comes from the eurozone debt crisis. Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by no more than 1.0 percent in 2011 and 2012, compared with the previous guidance for growth of about 1.4 percent and 2.0 percent respectively, the bank said in a quarterly report. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
British PM David Cameron outside No. 10 in the fall. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: BEN STANSALL/2011 AFP

The British political Establishment has been rocked by a Sunday Times sting that implicated Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas in a cash-for-access scandal. Reporters posing as would-be donors got Cruddas, considered one of the Tory's top fund-raisers, on tape claiming that donations of £250,000 (or $400,000) would grant, in soccer parlance, "Premier League" access to Prime Minister David Cameron. "If you're unhappy about something," he can be heard saying, "we'll listen to you and we'll put it into the policy commission at Number 10 [Downing Street]," referring to the Prime Minister's residence. He even floated the possibility of private dinners at Number 10.

Since then, Cruddas has resigned, calling his words just "bluster."

Clearly there is no question of donors being able to influence policy or gain undue access to politicians.

David Cameron, for his part, has pledged to launch an all-out inquiry, while the Conservatives have promised taxpayers that all their donations comply with electoral laws. But the damage has already been done, corroding what little voter trust was left in the country, and it's particularly embarrassing given Cameron's 2010's campaign promise to fight lobbying, which he derided as the "far too cozy relationship between politics, government, business, and money." He even made a prediction that he's likely regretting right about now: "It's the next big scandal waiting to happen."