"The Conservative party's governing board will discuss tomorrow what to do about the £1.5m worth of fees being sought by companies controlled by the Tories' former chairman, Lord Saatchi, for work on the 2005 election campaign which he then roundly criticised. Anger is widespread in the party about the way Lord Saatchi, the advertising entrepreneur who helped mastermind Margaret Thatcher's triumphs, rubbished the first Tory campaign to see seats gained from Labour since the Thatcher era. Hostility manifested itself this week in the publication of the Tory accounts for 2004. They included the previously not widely known fact that, when he was Conservative co-chairman, Lord Saatchi's companies, Immediate Sales and its parent firm, M & C Saatchi, billed the party for £339,000 and £207,000 respectively."
This is taken from an article in today's Guardian (the affair had previously surfaced in the Mail on Sunday). One of the most important things that the Conservative Party can do in opposition is to prove itself competent and ethical.
Even if Lord Saatchi was not personally involved in ordering business for his own companies the closeness of the top political and financial teams at Tory Campaign HQ should have set alarm bells ringing about the ethical issues that were certain to emerge. So long as Lord Saatchi was party co-chairman, with some responsibility for the election and other campaigns, there should not have been the option of him or his business interests benefiting from the money raised by volunteer activists from around the country.
Systems need to be put in place to avoid this ever happening again.