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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006, 03:26 GMT
Donor 'mixed' on Cameron's tenure
Stuart Wheeler
Mr Wheeler said the new leader has improved party morale
The Conservative Party's biggest donor has delivered a mixed assessment of David Cameron as party leader.

Stuart Wheeler has reportedly applauded Mr Cameron's "immediate and immense" impact which he said had given the party a "huge" morale boost.

But he criticised him for ruling out a return to the 11-plus exam and for his "ivory tower" environment policy.

He confirmed he has donated cash since the new leader took over - he stopped when Iain Duncan Smith was in charge.

'Fantastic job'

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Wheeler - who made his millions with a spread-betting firm - said: "I think David Cameron has done a fantastic job of improving the Conservative Party.

"Although there are one or two things I disagree with."

Mr Wheeler - who pledged 5m to the party in 2001 to help William Hague's general election campaign - said he was in favour of more grammar schools.

"I would have created more grammar schools. He [Mr Cameron] said grammar schools are unpopular but I don't think they really are unpopular."

Disagreement on NHS

He is also sceptical about the leader's rejection of the patient passport, which would help people pay for treatment outside the NHS.

He told the newspaper: "I think the best way of making hospitals better is to give people choice. The patient passport seemed to me to be a good idea.

"I understand that to the public that may seem to be a downgrading of the NHS, so I can see why David Cameron has taken that view. I would not have."

The Tory leader has hinted that he supported a climate change levy and the creation of a commission on global warming.

But Mr Wheeler said he was "rather sorry" the Tories have "made up their mind that global warming is a problem", saying a cheap solution is unlikely.

He suggested that the party sought measures that "don't cost anything".

"If you do that it doesn't matter if it turns out not to be a problem anyway. It is a little bit ivory tower."

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