David Cameron has insisted the Conservatives have nothing to hide in their dealings with Bob Edmiston, the Black Country businessman questioned by police in the "cash for peerages" affair, writes Political Editor Jonathan Walker
The Conservative leader spoke to The Birmingham Post as the row over party funding threatened to overshadow the annual party conference in Bournemouth.
He said Tory funding arrangements had been "completely sorted out" and defended financial support the party received from Mr Edmiston and the Midlands Industrial Council (MIC), a group of wealthy business leaders.
But he warned reform of party funding was needed, adding: "I'm fed up with this idea that somehow rich businesses or rich trade unions or rich individuals can somehow buy influence with political parties."
He was speaking after it emerged four major donors to the Conservative Party have been questioned by police investigating claims that peerages were exchanged for loans or grants.
They included Mr Edmiston, head of the of the IM Group, based in West Bromwich, which imports and distributes cars. His nomination for a peerage last autumn was blocked by the body which vets appointments to the House of Lords.
The Tories said three other donors, Lord Laidlaw, Lord Ashcroft and Swede Johan Eliasch, were also interviewed.
Mr Edmiston lent the Conservatives £2 million before last year's General Election but has since converted the loan into a donation. He is also involved in the MIC which has donated almost £1 million to the Conservatives over three years.
Mr Cameron said: "As I can see, I am the only party leader who has actually said how we should sort this out. I said let's clean up politics, let's have a limit of donations. I said let's have a limit of £50,000."
Mr Cameron published proposals in March for a £50,000 cap on the amount any individual or organisation, including a business or trade union, can donate to a political party. The proposal was rejected by Labour.