Tory donors offered meetings with comms chiefs Steve Hilton and Andy Coulson

Conservative Party invites major backers to presentations to discuss strategy issues.

Private presentations: Hilton and Coulson
Private presentations: Hilton and Coulson

The Conservative Party is giving its biggest donors a secret glimpse into its comms strategy, PRWeek can reveal.

A leaked email details how the party has begun offering wealthy backers the chance to attend 'private presentations' in Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) with key figures including director of communications Andy Coulson and director of strategy Steve Hilton.

Also said to be present were director of policy and research James O'Shaughnessy and director of the Target Seats campaign Stephen Gilbert.

The opportunity to discuss the party's PR strategy is one of a number of offers being made to big donors as the general election approaches and the party steps up its fundraising activity.

PRWeek has obtained an email sent to potential donors by CCHQ. The email, sent out on 24 November, asks recipients to 'consider joining one of our donor clubs, which range from £2k up to £50k'.

The email explains how the biggest donors can now attend presentations with key party figures, as well as lunches with David Cameron after Prime Minister's Questions (see extract from email, below).

Cameron has been hosting post-PMQ lunches with donors for the past three years, but the private presentations are believed to be a relatively new offering intended to attract more major donors.

Conservative Party head of press Henry Macrory confirmed that both these options were available for members of the most expensive donor clubs, adding that those who donated the most could expect 'a more interesting time'.

Another CCHQ source said the lunches had taken place 'on an occasional basis since 2006' but confirmed that the presentations had only begun this year. To date, only four of the private presentations have been held, but more are planned as the party's election strategy takes shape.

The lunches after PMQs are offered to donors who join the Leader's Group, at a cost of £50,000 a year. The private presentations with senior advisers are available to members of both the Leader's Group and the £25,000-a-year Treasurer's Group. Other donor clubs include the City & Entrepreneurs Forum (£2,000), the Front Bench Club (£5,000) and the Number 10 Club (£10,000).

 

EXTRACTS FROM THE LEAKED EMAIL

"Our task is to make sure that David Cameron has all the necessary financial resources at his disposal by reaching out to any and every potential source of support to maximize our chances of success....

"Please consider joining one of our donor clubs which range from £2k up to £50k.  Our top two, the Leader's and Treasurer's Group are where we focus David Cameron's and George Osborne's available fundraising energies.

"Throughout the year we organize small dinners with David in private homes, lunches with George Osborne at CCHQ, invite Leader's Group members to lunches with David following PMQs, and both groups to a number of private presentations in CCHQ with the Heads of Strategy, Communications, Campaigning and Research.

"In addition, we have two cocktail parties each year, one at the Camerons' home in July, the other at Christies in December. At Conference, all members are treated to VIP treatment in the conference hotel, auditorium and all the events....

"Please do consider supporting us; seriously, this is a great  time to be a Conservative; we do our level best to make supporting us both fascinating and fun and are always open to suggestions from members about what we can add to the mix to make it even more attractive."

 

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