Tory ministers declined to say who they were dining with at a fancy nosh-up last week. The party refused to release the guest list for the event at the private Hurlingham members’ club in Fulham, west London.
But the gleaming Rolls-Royces and Jaguars streaming through the gates told their own story.
Tory ministers attending including Michael Gove, Nicky Morgan, Matthew Hancock and David Gauke. The dress code was “glamorous” but invitees were instructed to avoid black tie. A pot of honey made by the wife of foreign office minister Hugo Swire, the evening’s auctioneer, went for £15,000—almost 9,000 times the recommended retail price.
We know a little more about last year’s event.
Almost 450 attendees at last summer’s glittering fundraising dinner had a combined wealth of more than £11 billion. They sat at tables costing up to £12,000 each.
It is not known how much was raised from last year’s event. But Electoral Commission figures show that since the ball those present have donated £5 million to the Conservatives. Of this, £1.1 million was registered in the week after the event. Table sales raised at least £250,000. There were some cheap seats available for a mere £400.
The guest list last year saw six billionaires and 15 people with a personal wealth above £100 million. The main sponsor was Shore Capital, an investment bank led by Howard Shore.
Shore has donated £450,000 to the Tories. He booked three “premier tables” and on one hosted David and Samantha Cameron.
The table also included investor Nicolas Berggruen, Slovenian tycoon Darko Horvat and property magnate Sir John Ritblat.
London mayor Boris Johnson shared a table with Andrei Borodin, an exiled Russian banker. Borodin is wanted in Russia on charges of “aggravated swindling” over an alleged £220million bank fraud.
Papers ‘shredded’ in the Lawrence case
Detectives have investigated reports that Scotland Yard shredded large numbers of documents related to police corruption in the Stephen Lawrence case. That’s according to Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt.
An administrative assistant who was ordered to shred the documents had been interviewed. She was the only person out of 85 to recall the shredding.
Hewitt said he believed the “only logical theory” was that the “four bin bags” worth of papers were shredded as a security precaution after being entered into a computer system.
Then again he doesn’t seem to know how many corruption investigations he is in charge of. He said, “five or six” were ongoing.
David Cameron’s daughter is one of 38 children who currently use a creche in parliament created with our money. Somewhat ironically it used to be a bar—another place Cameron likes to leave his kids. Less ironically, it has lost £383,500 since September 2010.
How to pull in more viewers? Just nod!
ITV bosses have come up with an ingenious way to boost ratings—police their female presenters’ appearance. They’ve given ITV’s Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid a raft of instructions that they hope will win more viewers.
An ITV source said, “Susanna has been told to nod more. Her skirt length is checked and the colours now need to be brighter and lighter. There was a discussion about lightening her hair.”
Presumably male presenters are subject to exactly the same treatment.
In other sexism news, BBC commentator Mark Lawrenson last week said a footballer who had a weak shot at goal “should have put a skirt on”. It’s not clear what skirts have to do with being able to score goals.
Nearly 200 people complained.
Recovery bites as more people steal food
It seems the economic recovery the Tories love banging on about has yet to reach some parts of Britain. Shoplifting is on the rise in 37 out of 43 police force areas in England and Wales, according to police figures.
The cops describe a wave of “austerity crime” as first-time offenders are stealing food from supermarkets. They have resorted to referring repeat offenders to food banks.
TOFF OF THE WEEK
Francis Maude Millionaire Minister
- Francis Maude is currently Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General
- His personal wealth is estimated at £3 million
- Maude has said Britain being described as a tax haven for the super-rich is a “compliment”
- He’s declared war on workers by floating ideas to make it harder to strike
Eton by bear? The inquest begins
Horatio Chapple, an Eton pupil, was killed by a polar bear in 2011 while on an adventure holiday. The 24 year old polar bear was seriously underweight. It weighed about 250kg rather than the typical 400kg, and had heavily worn teeth which would have caused it pain.
The bear was shot dead after it attacked Horatio and others on the trip. An inquest into Horatio’s death began this week. Troublemaker has long supported campaigning for the environment.
Now we have another reason to save the polar bears.
Tory chancellor George Osborne is in charge of our money
Troublemaker was worried enough about this—before he appeared unable to get basic maths questions correct. Osborne refused to confirm what seven times eight was when asked by a child last week. It’s 56.
According to Tory mayor of London Boris Johnson, air pollution levels in London are “perfectly fine”
But scientists from King’s College London have found that London’s Oxford Street is the most polluted street in the entire world. Its levels of nitrogen dioxide are up to ten times the legal limit and higher than those found in China’s capital Beijing.