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Tory politicians and backers at lavish fundraising event

Tory politicians and their backers donned their dinner suits and ball gowns on Monday to raise funds for the Conservative party.

At a lavish black tie event held in London at the Brewery by the Barbican centre, it is understood guests were set to bid on a number of undisclosed auction lots throughout the evening.

Some of those in attendance included Sir Eric Pickles, Business Secretary Sajid Javid, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

Harlow MP Rob Halfon was spotted going in, Tory mayor of London candidate Zac Goldsmith arrived in a black cab, and London mayor Boris Johnson rolled up on his trusty bike.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha were also in attendance - as well as Tory supporter Baroness Karren Brady and a raft of other wealthy supporters.

Last year it was understood that tables to the annual event fetched £15,000 each - as the party looked to raise £3 million for the election spending pot.

Some of the lots up for grabs at the auction last year included a shoe shopping spree with Home Secretary Theresa May, a chicken supper at the home of Michael Gove and a selection of budgets signed by Chancellor George Osborne.

It is understood that some of the auction lots this year included a number of holidays.

Sarah Vine, on leaving the event, said there was a Bordeaux wine tour up for grabs and a day of shooting in "somewhere posh like Northamptonshire".

Michael Gove said he could not remember any of the lots, blaming the fact he was "terribly forgetful".

One guest who did not want to be named said: "It was all pretty low level items - no one bid very much.

"It was very dull compared to other years. There were no celebrities, it was hunting, shooting and fishing."

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