The Conservative party is failing to stand up to energy companies because its election campaign is reliant on donations from the industry, the shadow Cabinet Office minister Jonathan Ashworth has said.
The Tories have taken donations worth more than £2.5m from the energy sector since the last election, leading them to “prioritise a privileged few”, according toLabour.
Ashworth’s comments come after the Conservatives attacked Labour plans to freeze energy bills within months of taking office. Labour has insisted it would press ahead with plans to give the regulator Ofgem the power to force firms to pass on wholesale energy price cuts to customers, despite the Conservativesinsisting it would cause chaos.
Ashworth said that the Tories were in the pocket of the energy sector, after senior ministers held dozens of meetings with industry representatives. Businessmen and companies in the oil and gas sector have donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the party. A Conservative party spokesman said that all donations complied with electoral commission rules.
David Cameron has personally met with the representatives of the “big six” companies — the firms that dominate the market — on 10 occasions since taking office. George Osborne has held four meetings with the companies, which include EDF Energy, British Gas and Scottish Power.