Cruddas wins damages over ‘cash-for-meeting’ claim

It was claimed Peter Cruddas had charged people to meet the Prime Minister. Picture: PA
It was claimed Peter Cruddas had charged people to meet the Prime Minister. Picture: PA
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FORMER Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas has spoken out against his treatment by the Tories after winning his High Court libel action over allegations of corruption.

Mr Cruddas told how he was “cut off” by the party and “made to feel like an outcast” by the Prime Minister, after the Sunday Times reported that he was charging £250,000 to meet David Cameron.

He was yesterday supported by the judge in the case, Mr Justice Tugendhat, who said Mr Cameron had subjected his former Conservative colleague to a “public humiliation”.

The High Court found the newspaper had falsely alleged that Mr Cruddas was charging £250,000 to meet David Cameron. The court also awarded him £180,000 in damages and ordered the newspaper to pay £500,000 in costs.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Tugendhat said Mr Cruddas had been subjected to a “massive public humiliation” by the Prime Minister, when Mr Cameron said in a speech in the wake of the newspaper report that what he had said was “completely unacceptable and wrong”.

“The Prime Minister did not know what Mr Cruddas had said. This speech by the Prime Minister was a massive public humiliation for Mr Cruddas,” said the judge in his finding.

Speaking after ruling, Mr Cruddas, 59, said: “My world was turned upside-down when that article was published. I remember vividly having to walk into my offices the day after the article was published and face 500 of my staff. It was humiliating.

“The Conservative Party cut me off within two hours of the story breaking and did not want to hear my side of the story.

“I was made to feel like an outcast as the Prime Minister and the party lined up to criticise me on television and radio. This hurt me immensely and further damaged my reputation.”

A Tory spokesman suggested there would be no formal apology, saying: “We are pleased Peter Cruddas has won this case and can put this matter to rest.”