One loaded British Tory who just happened to love Libyan rebels

This is how power works, a rare window into modern politics. If you thought the war in Libya was truly about liberating the Libyan people, 99% of players behind it had other ideas. Here’s the UK Telegraph:

A major Tory donor whose oil firm was given government help to set up a supply deal in Libya was a dinner guest at Downing Street, it has been disclosed.

David Cameron invited Ian Taylor, the boss of the oil company Vitol, weeks after it emerged that a secret “Libyan oil cell” run from the Foreign Office had brokered a lucrative deal for Vitol to supply oil to rebel forces in the north African country.

When the controversy blew up last September, No”‰10 had to fend off accusations that Vitol, which has close links to the international development minister, Alan Duncan, was given preferential treatment.

Weeks later, on Nov 2, Mr Taylor, who has donated …£466,100 to the Conservative Party since Mr Cameron became leader, was one of six guests at an intimate dinner party with the prime minister in Downing Street.

Last night Opposition MPs demanded to know whether Vitol’s deal with the National Transitional Council in Libya was discussed at the dinner, which was also attended by Mr Taylor’s wife, Christine. Labour said the dinner added to “the perception that policy is purchased by donors”. Downing Street said Mr Taylor, 55, was invited to “the social dinner for strong and long-term supporters of the party”.

Mr Cameron went ahead with the dinner despite a series of questions about possible preferential treatment for Vitol, the world’s largest oil trader.

The Government had admitted that a secret committee, said to have been set up at the suggestion of Mr Duncan, arranged meetings between Vitol and the Libyan rebels fighting Col Muammar Gaddafi. Mr Duncan is a close friend of Mr Taylor, having worked for Vitol in the 1990s, and as a consultant for Arawak, a company part-owned by Vitol.

Mr Duncan said the work of the oil cell was above board and other companies were not prepared to take the risk of opening a supply route to the Libyan rebels. But oil industry insiders suggested that Vitol benefited from “good contacts”. Last night Michael Dugher, shadow minister without portfolio, said: “Questions have to be asked about the Prime Minister’s relationship with Ian Taylor.”

The private dinner in November was one of four disclosed by Downing Street yesterday that were attended by people who have donated more than …£50,000.

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