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Inside the Tories’s ‘black-and-white’ ball for the ‘just about managing’ donor class

The Conservatives’ black-tie billionaire-laden black-and-white ball ain’t what it used to be. Although Nigella Lawson’s former personal assistant once complained that she would ‘rather go to jail than live in Battersea’, top Tories had to brush such qualms aside as they headed to Battersea Evolution for the annual fundraiser. Happily Mr S had a mole on the inside to keep him up to date on the new look event.

In keeping with Theresa May’s ‘just about managing’ agenda, activists were bussed in on cut-price £75 tickets to join the millionaires and frontbenchers at the event. In that vein, the pricier items — including a private cabaret performance and grouse shooting weekend — were placed on a silent digital auction. Meanwhile the hoi polloi were given a chance to join the hijinks thanks to a raffle with tickets at a mere £25 a pop.

Guests dined on duck, sea bass and a trio of desserts comprised of treacle tart, bakewell tart (perhaps bought at the same time May picked up the a stash of the sweet treat for Melania Trump) and lemon posset — along with a cheeseboard. The hospitality seemed to do the trick, with the Prime Minister receiving a standing ovation as she gave a speech on her vision for a Conservative party focussed on fairness — while finding time to make a jibe about the size of President Trump’s hands.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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