‘People’s Prime minister’ Boris Johnson rolled out the red carpet for super-rich Tory supporters worth in excess of £25 billion at a lavish ball.
At the Tories’ Winter Party, previously called the Black and White Ball, the prime minister offered privileged access and cosy dinners with senior ministers for cash to stuff the party’s coffers.
Unnamed donors paid almost £100,000 for two games of tennis with Johnson in an auction at the event, alongside hunting trips and luxury holidays.
The party raked in an estimated £500,000 from table fees alone, as 700 attendees paid up to £15,000 a table to rub shoulders with ministers and dine on fine food and costly wine.
Among the lots on offer in the auction were a pair of Brexit 50p coins—one in 22 carat gold, another in silver —in a presentation signed by the cabinet, which sold for £65,000. A night of whisky tasting with Liz Truss, lunch with Zac Goldsmith and dinner at an exclusive Mayfair club with Michael Gove—which raised at least £8,000—were on offer.
And a day in a box at Lords for a one-day cricket international between England and Australia with new chancellor Rishi Sunak sold for £80,000.
A ride in a Lancaster Bomber with transport secretary Grant Shapps sold for around £2,000.
A signed photo of Margaret Thatcher sold for £4,000.
Dinner at the Carlton Club with health secretary Matt Hancock sold for £3,000, while a week in the Cayman Islands sold for £10,000.
Two games of tennis with Johnson and party co-chair Ben Elliot were auctioned for around £45,000 each.
An eight-gun pheasant and partridge shoot in Oxfordshire was auctioned for £80,000.
Boris Johnson is under fire for using the honours system to reward Tory party “cronies”. Three would-be peers gave the party almost £1.5million in the final three months of last year. Peter Cruddas, Michael Spencer and Jon Moynihan have been nominated to the House of Lords by Johnson. Spencer gave £1,057,250, Moynihan shelled out £116,631, and Cruddas donated £283,900.
A digger driver who smashed up a Travelodge because he hadn’t been paid has been jailed for five years and four months. He could not afford electricity or to buy food because he had not been paid, and therefore could not have his children stay with him.
Prince Harry choo-chooses first class climate hypocrisy
Prince Harry booked out an entire first class carriage on his way home from an eco-conference in Scotland.
The Duke of Sussex and his bodyguards reportedly had the entire carriage to themselves on the way home from Edinburgh to London.
He had been speaking at the Travalyst event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on sustainable tourism.
The duke founded the Travalyst coalition, which is working to help tourists find more eco-friendly ways to travel.
The conference focused on getting travel industry feedback on ideas, such as creating an online scoring system to blushow the green status of a holiday.
Did Cameron’s big society trust mislay millions?
David Cameron’s pet Big Society body faces a probe into the way it is run.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is looking at allegations of mismanagement at the National Citizenship Service Trust.
The trust was set up by the then prime minister Cameron in 2011 to give teenagers life and work skills.
Michael Lynas, who left as its £150,000-a-year boss last week, got an exit package which included £15,000 to help him train for a new job and was kept on as a paid consultant.
The body has an annual budget of about £180 million.
Around £1.5 billion has been ploughed into it by the government to date.
About £10 million for unfilled citizenship training places is missing for 2018. It is understood a further £20 million is outstanding for other years.
Free speechers gather round tea
Odious Toby Young brandished a box of Yorkshire Tea Bags, which he declared he would defend against all comers.
That is how Young launched his Free Speech Union last week.
It isn’t a union, it’s a limited company. But not to worry.
Because its not really about free speech either. It means freedom to be a sexist, misogynist creep and dabble in eugenics.
Which seems not to have unduly concerned Trevor Phillips who addressed the anointed few as did former MEP Claire Fox.
Cruel council evicts tents
People living on the streets have been slapped with council notices ordering them to pack up and move—or face having their belongings confiscated and destroyed.
The Canterbury council notice says that tents on private land must go and the owner must “leave at once”.
It further reads, “Court proceedings will start unless you have gone with 24 hours of receiving this notice otherwise the tent and all other items will be removed and destroyed.”
Plans not good enough for ermine vermin
The cost of restoring parliament could spiral.
The House of Lords was due to be relocated from the Palace of Westminster to the nearby QEII conference centre.
But peers want a grand new central staircase to bring in more “natural light”, and to turn the sixth floor into a catering suite with bars and restaurants.
Changes to the front of the conference centre are being lobbied for because peers think it is too ugly for them.
Costs for restoring the Palace of Westminster estimated at up to
£5.6 billion. So far.
The things they say
‘Wash your hands to the national anthem’
Jacob Rees-Mogg advice to stop the coronavirus
‘I think she is a fantastic home secretary’
Prime minister Boris Johnson defends home secretary Priti Patel against accusations of bullying
‘Priti is a very determined home secretary’
Health secretary Matt Hancock
‘The people responsible for knowingly encasing our families in a death trap and the people that allowed them to do it must face the full force of the law’
Grenfell survivors respond after the attorney general guaranteed that anything said by witnesses to the public inquiry will not be used to prosecute them
‘Let’s be kind to the pregnant lady, shall we?’
Mail online columnist Sarah Vine who has a reputation of kindness