HC Deb 25 March 1996 vol 274 cc693-4
3. Mr. Tony Banks

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much his office has spent on official hospitality during the current financial year. [20678]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service (Mr. David Willetts)

The answer is £5,100.

Mr. Banks

I realise that the Deputy Prime Minister has a lot of sorrows to drown, as he is always the political bridesmaid, but is that not rather a lot of money to spend wassailing at public expense? Would the Deputy Prime Minister have had a celebratory party if his advice to the Cabinet not to let the public know about the connection between mad cow disease and the human food chain had been agreed to? Would he have had a party and, if he had, would he have been serving beef chipolatas on sticks?

Mr. Willetts

The Deputy Prime Minister's personal office spent £3,486 of that, largely on two dinners at Lancaster house, where I do not know what was served. As regards the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's question, he should not believe all the mad speculation that he reads in the press.

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