David Cameron defends tennis game with wife of ex-Russian minister for £160k Tory donation

10 March 2022, 14:09

By Sophie Barnett

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has defended a £160,000 donation made to the Conservatives by the wife of a former Russian minister in return for a tennis match during LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr.

Mr Cameron was questioned about the donation during Tonight with Andrew Marr, where he claimed there was "absolutely no conversation about Russia, about finance, about Putin or anything else".

He later said: "If they were trying to buy something, they didn't get it, did they?"

The 2014 match involved Boris Johnson - who was mayor of London at the time - and the wife of Lubov Chernukhin, who had bid at a fundraising auction at a Tory event.

Watch Tonight with Andrew Marr exclusively on Global Player every Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 7pm https://www.globalplayer.com/live/lbc/uk/

Mrs Chernukhin is a longstanding Conservative Party donor whose husband served under Vladimir Putin.

The tennis match against Mr Johnson and the then prime minister Mr Cameron was among items auctioned off at the Conservative Party summer ball.

Mr Cameron was quizzed about whether he had played the game during Tonight with Andrew Marr.

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.

"I do, I remember. There was absolutely no conversation about Russia, about finance, about Putin or anything else..." he replied.

"What do you think they were trying to buy?" Andrew hit back.

"First of all, let me make this point. We had a very careful system of vetting of who could, or could not, give money to the Conservative party.

"A very small handful of people who had any connections with Russia, as far as I'm concerned, most of them were dissidence, often Ukrainians.

"Crucially this point, Britain had the strongest anti-Putin policy of any country in Europe.

"Who threw him out of the G8, who insisted on the sanctions, who passed the rules on beneficial ownership?

"It's a giant red-herring to suggest in some way that Russian money, somehow influenced policy against Putin in Russia."

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