AN OIL executive and Tory party donor was given access to restricted Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministerial correspondence during a diplomatic campaign to help his company avoid paying a £210m tax bill in Africa, it was claimed last week.

Aidan Heavey, chief executive of Tullow Oil, who has donated more than £50,000 to the Conservatives, was provided with a copy of a ministerial letter for his comments in advance of it being sent to the Ugandan president. It has been claimed that this was “wholly improper”.

Heavey’s access to the correspondence emerged in a High Court legal battle between Tullow and another company, Heritage Oil, over the disputed tax bill.

Tullow was faced with the capital gains tax bill after buying Heritage assets in 2010.