Kwarteng did not share tax insights at drinks party, says Tory chairman

The Conservative Party chairman has defended the chancellor after a report claimed he discussed confidential plans for the economy with financiers at a private champagne reception.

Jake Berry said Kwasi Kwarteng had not shared any insights at the party - which he was also at - held in the hours after his mini-budget last week.

The Sunday Times said hedge fund managers, who might gain from a crash in the pound, had "egged him" on.

Lib Dems have called for an inquiry.

Senior Labour MP Angela Eagle also said the matter needed investigating, calling it "utterly improper or worse".

After the chancellor's tax-cutting mini-budget on 23 September, he attended a gathering at the Chelsea home of a City financier where he gave guests insights about planned spending cuts, according to the Sunday Times.

Speaking to Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Berry insisted that was not the case.

"I can categorically rule out that in terms of the address he made to the group of people who were there as part of this normal treasurer's event, he did not give any insight into future plans and I'm sure in terms of his private conversations he didn't give any," he said.

Mr Berry said he did not see the chancellor drink champagne and pointed out that drinks receptions were often held for Conservative Party donors, just as they were for Labour and Lib Dem donors.

The event was not for hedge fund managers, but rather for "Britain's leading entrepreneurs", he added, although he admitted he knew of at least one hedge fund manager who was there.

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