Ben Elliot refused to answer questions over allegations he organised meetings between businessmen and his uncle Prince Charles
Image: Sky News)
Tory co-chairman Ben Elliot has been confronted on camera at Conservative conference over allegations of cash for access to Prince Charles.
Mr Elliot was doorstepped by Sky News at the event in Manchester, where he was repeatedly grilled over allegations he had organised meetings between businessmen and the future king.
The 46-year-old is the Duchess of Cornwall’s nephew and a director of Quintessentially – a “luxury lifestyle management service” for the super-rich.
He was dragged into a row when Quintessentially subscriber and Tory donor Mohamed Amersi claimed in July that Mr Elliot arranged for him to meet Prince Charles – after years of subscription payments.
The Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists found Mr Elliot did not need to register as a lobbyist but had advised him to be cautious about making a distinction between his Quintessentially role and his activities linked to the Government.
Asked repeatedly if he was offering access to his uncle Prince Charles for money, Mr Elliot remained tight-lipped.
He also didn’t answer questions about whether there was a conflict of interest between his work and his role at the Tory party.
He told Sky News reporter Joe Pike: “I’m going to have a curry now if that’s ok,” before adding: “I wish you’d stop following me.”
Mr Amersi claimed at the time: “I call it access capitalism… You get access, you get invitations, you get privileged relationships if you are part of the set-up, and where you are financially making a contribution to be a part of that set up.”
The Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists found Mr Elliot did not need to register as a lobbyist, but it advised him “to be cautious about the possibility of engaging in consultant lobbying activity (perhaps unintentionally) by not making a clear enough distinction between his role as a director of Quintessentially and his other activities connected to government.”
A spokesperson on behalf of Mr Elliot said at the time: “The registrar has made clear that Quintessentially does not lobby Government and therefore does not need to register as a lobbyist.”
Tory chairman Oliver Dowden launched a furious defence of Mr Elliot, branding him “fantastic”.
He told a fringe event hosted by The Telegraph: “Ben is a fantastic man and one of the great fundraisers of the Conservative Party.
“He was the person who powered the election victory in 2019 – he’s broadened our base of supporters and brings a great deal of expertise.
“We’re getting along great”.
Mr Dowden dismissed press questions about Mr Elliot’s financial arrangements, claiming “I have seen this every single time” with other fundraisers.
He added: “I don’t believe Ben Elliot has done anything wrong, he’s properly separated his interests and so on.”
It comes as Mr Amersi, who has given more than £500,000 to the Conservatives since 2018, was linked to a major corruption scandal.
The so-called Pandora Papers documents reveal the 61-year-old corporate lawyer advised on a series of deals for a Swedish telecoms company, according to the BBC.
The firm, Telia, later accepted the $220m (£162m) deal was a “corrupt payment” – a bribe for the daughter of the then-president of Uzbekistan.
Mr Amersi denies any wrongdoing.
Asked about the revelations, Boris Johnson insisted the Tory party vets donors “all the time”.