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Cruddas wins £180,000 libel damages

Source BBC News@

Peter CruddasMr Cruddas resigned as Conservative Party co-treasurer hours after the reports in March 2012

Former Conservative co-treasurer Peter Cruddas has won £180,000 libel damages over Sunday Times allegations about charging to meet David Cameron.

The High Court in London also ordered the newspaper to pay £500,000 in costs.

The businessman, 59, complained that the articles in March last year suggested he had corruptly offered the chance to gain unfair advantage through secret meetings with the PM.

Mr Cruddas resigned after the reports appeared in the newspaper.

After his High Court victory, Mr Cruddas said his "good name had been restored" and accused the Conservative leadership of disowning him after the articles were published.

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

"I was constructively dismissed from my role as party treasurer and 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."

Mr Cruddas, who before becoming treasurer was one of the party's leading donors, also succeeded in his claim for malicious falsehood against the newspaper but no separate damages award was made in respect of that today.

The Electoral Commission dismissed calls for an inquiry into the allegations last year, stating that there was no evidence that the law on donations had been breached.

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