Cameron's pals deny 'absurd' ritual claims
David Cameron was not a member of a "debauched" Oxford University society that engaged in "bizarre rituals and sexual excess", friends of the Prime Minister have said.
Sources close to Mr Cameron have moved to deny a series of "absurd" claims made by the billionaire Lord Ashcroft, a Conservative peer, in a new book entitled 'Call Me Dave'.
The peer, who admits he has personal "beef" with Cameron because he was not given a "significant" government job in 2010, makes a series of allegations about the prime minister being in environments where drugs were openly being taken.
He claims that Mr Cameron was part of a "dope smoking group" with friends while he studied at Oxford.
Lord Ashcroft, a billionaire who has regularly criticised the prime minister, also alleges that Mr Cameron took part in an "outrageous initiation ceremony" to join a notorious dining club while at university.
The book claims that a pig's head was produced by a club member and that Mr Cameron "inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal's mouth".
Downing Street has said they will not "dignify" the allegations "with any comment".
However, friends close to Mr Cameron have dismissed a number of Lord Ashcroft's allegations as "total c**p".
"The pig's head stuff is total c**p. He was not a member of this society. Ashcroft has made it clear why he's written this stuff. It is absurd," a source said.
"I am not going to dignify this book with any comment. The author has set out his reason for writing it," Mr Cameron's official spokesman said.
In his biography of the prime minister, Lord Ashcroft, who donated £8m to the Conservatives, claims Mr Cameron was aware of his non-domiciled tax status, which was heavily criticised by Labour, in 2009. The following year Lord Ashcroft released a statement confirming he was a 'non-dom', a status he gave up in order to remain in the Lords.
Mr Cameron has said that he did not know about Lord Ashcroft's tax affairs until 2010, when the issue was made public.
It is claimed that Lord Ashcroft began his dispute with Mr Cameron after he failed to honour a promise to give him a "significant" job if the Conservatives won the 2010 general election.
It is said that Mr Cameron told Lord Ashcroft that Nick Clegg, who led the Liberal Democrats during the Coalition Government, had blocked his appointment.
Mr Clegg told the BBC that he did not recollect being asked permission to give Lord Ashcroft a senior job.
"I'm now used to Conservatives - they certainly did it for five years - using me as an alibi for awkward decisions that they had to face within their own party and I'm certain they fell into that category," he said.
The most extraordinary claim is that Mr Cameron took part in an initiation ritual for the notorious Piers Gaveston Society - named after the supposed lover of Edward II - which involved him inserting "a private part of his anatomy" in the mouth of a dead pig.
Lord Ashcroft said he was told about the incident by an Oxford contemporary of Mr Cameron who is now an MP and who claimed to have seen a photograph of the event.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Cameron had to answer questions about his knowledge of Lord Ashcroft's non-domiciled status.
"I don't think I'm in any position to comment on the revelations in the book about David Cameron," she said.
"I think, though, if I can perhaps make him feel better, he's entertained the whole country on a dreary Monday morning, so there's got to be something in that.
"Actually, though, put aside all the lewd and salacious allegations, there was one serious allegation that I think perhaps he does have to answer and that was about the fact he allegedly knew about Lord Ashcroft's non-dom status much earlier than he admitted to knowing about it.
"That's one that perhaps shouldn't just be allowed to disappear into the ether with some of the more lewd ones."