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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Kennedy denies 'cash for access'
Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy
Charles Kennedy: "Something every political party does"
Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy has denied that an offer to fix meetings between party figures and company executives in return for payments represents "cash for access".

A brochure sent to lobbyists and companies ahead of the party's conference in Brighton promises business people meetings with Mr Kennedy and his spokesmen on issues that concern them.

The internal party document includes proposed "VIP tours" with senior Liberal Democrats of their choice and also gives details of "sponsorship opportunities".

Mr Kennedy said this was normal activity carried out by every political party for their conferences.

There is no scandal here

Charles Kennedy
"This is not a cash for access story at all," he told BBC Radio Scotland.

"This is something every single political party does, for every single national conference.

"We invite people along to hear what they have got to say, to be able to deal with our elected representatives at every level from local council to the European Parliament and at all points between.

"There is no scandal here."

The 16-page booklet said these tours presented "top class opportunities to talk one-to-one with the most senior spokespeople and policy makers in the party".

The brochure also suggested deals for the conference crèche - "a particularly good sponsorship opportunity for a company whose target market is parents of babies and young children".

The shorts or jerkins worn by volunteer conference stewards are said to offer "a highly visible sponsorship opportunity".

See also:

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Kennedy backs Wallace on prisons
01 Apr 01 | Scotland
Lib Dem conference in pictures
15 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Lib Dems launch election campaign
11 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Form foul-up scuppers Lib Dems
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