David Cameron's deal with PR executive

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David Cameron delivering leaflets in OxfordshirePA

What you do with your own property is nobody's business but yours. If you want to buy the land next door - perhaps to have a bit more space for your growing family, or if you invite a few friends round to hob nob in the garden - there's no reason on earth why anyone should be interested.

Unless of course you are David Cameron and the land you bought was previously owned by a bigwig in the world of PR.

The deal

Cameron is said to have spent £137,500 on the land next to his Oxfordshire home, a year after becoming prime minister. It was previously owned by Lord Chadlington, the chief executive of public relations company Huntsworth.

Because the political world is a terribly small place, Chadlington and the Conservative party go way back. His brother is John Gummer, a former Tory cabinet minister and Chadlington has previously given David Cameron £10,000 to fund his bid for Conservative leadership. He has also made substantial donations to the Tories both personally and through his company.

There's nothing wrong with any of this. Chadlington is allowed to be both politically-minded and a PR guru. In fact, Downing Street has been at pains to point out that the land was independently valued and the market value was paid. Everything is entirely above board in what was just a normal property transaction.

So, given that there's nothing wrong with this, why do we care?

Concerns

There are two things which don't sit well here. The first is that when you look at all Lord Chadlington's connections to the conservative party, you realise how much political people are bound up in one another's lives. While everything is carried out in a straightforward and business-like way (as this deal undoubtedly was) there's nothing to worry about. But it's easy to see how politics can become rife with cronyism and how lobbyists and PR gurus can be part of the picture.

The second is that this is an enormous sum of money to be spending on a strip of land. At a time when the 'all in it together' line was still ringing true for some people, here was the prime minister demonstrating that he had plenty of cash to splash when it came to his own life, and he wasn't afraid to spend it.

So does any of this bother you? Or is it about time we left Cameron to get on with his own business? Let us know in the comments.

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