Ed Miliband particularly questions £160,000 donation Tories accepted from wife of former Russian finance minister.
, political correspondent
The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, made his comments on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1. Photograph: BBC/Reuters
David Cameron has questions to answer over the money he is taking from Russian oligarchs, Ed Miliband has said.
The Labour leader particularly questioned the £160,000 donation the Conservatives accepted from the wife of a former Russian finance minister, who won an auction offering the chance to play tennis with Cameron and the London mayor, Boris Johnson.
Over the past week, the Tories have been under scrutiny over donations from people linked to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The US and EU have imposed sanctions in reaction to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine.
Figures from the Electoral Commission show that the Conservatives have banked more than £161,000 from people with links to the Kremlin, and Labour has calculated that the Tories have received almost £1m from Russians in general.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1, Miliband said the money should be returned.
“David Cameron does have questions to answer on the money that he’s taking from Russian oligarchs, on the bidding for a tennis match, all of that stuff. Frankly, he can’t stand up one minute and say that ‘this is the biggest issue and we’re going to take the right action’. He’s got to really look very, very carefully at who he is getting money from.”
Labour has called for Cameron to cancel his tennis match with Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of Vladamir Chernukhin, who was Putin’s deputy finance minister in 2000. She won the auction last month, but some MPs, both Labour and Conservative, have questioned whether the prime minister should accept the money while attacking the Kremlin over the Ukraine crisis. Cameron has told parliament that if Putin “does not change his approach to Ukraine … then Europe and the west must fundamentally change our approach to Russia”. A Tory spokesman said last week that no date had been set for the match but that “all donations are transparent and permissible under the rules set out by the Electoral Commission”.
Miliband also criticised the reaction of the EU to the Ukrainian situation, saying national leaders need to get more involved in discussions about sanctions against Russia. The UK has been pushing for tougher penalties against Russian business sectors, such as banking, defence and energy, but so far the sanctions have been limited to individuals and firms specifically linked to Putin and his government.
“We need action. We need a European Council,” Miliband said. “The heads of government of Europe should be meeting, they shouldn’t have been leaving it to foreign ministers. We need to raise the sanctions on Russia, on individual corporations that have been part of what happened around the big decisions that have been made. We need action on this.”
The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, joined calls on Sunday for Russia to face the axe as hosts of the 2018 World Cup as part of tougher sanctions over the shooting down of flight MH17.