Tories accept Booth's apology

The Conservative Party has accepted a written apology from Sir Clive Booth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, over his accusation that the Tories were "hostile" to the sector - but the party has warned that the comments could have damaged the fund's reputation.

Booth wrote that he regretted any "unintended consequences" of the comments, which he made in an interview with Third Sector, and admitted his remarks were "spontaneous and perhaps misjudged". However, the letter rejected claims of Labour cronyism and said Booth had also criticised the Government.

Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture minister, who wrote a letter of complaint about Booth's comments to Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell in February, said: "With his rash comments, Sir Clive risked bringing the Big Lottery Fund into disrepute.

"I hope the incident was an innocent mistake and not because of his private support for the Labour Party."

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