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Having to put up with heavy yoghurt for the expenses

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Issue 2459

Members of the House of Lords have lodged a string of complaints about food and service.

Peers enjoy cut-price food and drink. This includes prawn and lobster meat folded into Avugar caviar for just £10 and halibut confit for £15.

The eight restaurants and bars in the House of Lords got a £2 million subsidy. That’s £50,000 up on last year.

One lord wrote, “For the second time in two weeks I waited over half an hour for a sandwich.”

Another lord whinged that a cheese creme brulee “wasn’t very cheesy”. He said the “supreme of hake” dish he ordered was “awful and very plain”.

Another complaint from a peer said the quality had “deteriorated sharply” and whinged that lords and ladies could “no longer select a second vegetable”.

“Cabbage, broccoli, sprouts and spinach have almost vanished completely in favour of root vegetables!”

One complaint in October last year stated that the “yoghurt was too heavy”.

Lord Hanningfield, Parliament’s foremost expenses fiddler, is back. He was banned from the House of Lords, but that ban ended after the general election. 

Since coming back he has not spoken in the Lords chamber, or in Grand Committee, or tabled any oral or written questions. He is not a member of any Lords committee. 

But he has signed in on four separate days, which entitles him to a £1,200 taxfree attendance allowance. 

Hanningfield, who was ennobled for his work as Tory leader of Essex County Council, was arrested and charged under the Theft Act in February 2010. This was because he had made fraudulent expenses claims. 

He returned after a spell in prison and a temporary ban from parliament in April 2012. He started claiming his £300-a-day attendance allowance, as he was legally entitled to do.

In 2012 alone he pocketed £24,600 without ever speaking or making any other contribution to the Lords.

Cartoon parasites party the night away

Royalty and the best of people wore costumes to the exclusive cartoon-themed 25th birthday party for Princess Eugenie near Windsor Castle.

A Disneyland banner greeting them had been painted to read Eugenieland.

Eugenie herself was dressed as Snow White and accompanied by “seven real dwarfs”, hired for the celebration.

Eugenie’s sister Princess Beatrice, 26, wore a Finding Nemo dress, while cousin Prince Harry had a Mario Bros-style outfit. 

A royal insider revealed, “Eugenie decided to go all-out. There was a big 

sit-down dinner followed by a rowdy disco her friends kept calling a Windsor rave.

“Eugenie also hired fairground rides. All had an amazing time.”

Eugenie’s birthday was in March but the party had to wait till the scrounger finished travelling in the US. Bless.

Ascot, Farage and the EU fascists

Nigel Farage swapped Barbour jacket and cords for morning dress and forced himself to drink Pimm’s rather than bitter in the royal enclosure at Ascot. 

Let’s hope the Ukip leader’s day wasn’t spoilt when a French horse won the first race and Age of Empire flopped in the next.

“It looks very bad, it couldn’t look worse,” said Nigel Farage when he heard the allegation that a staff member employed by MEP Janice Atkinson had been filmed engaging in what looked like financial sharp practice. 

It looked so bad that Atkinson and her employee were promptly expelled from Ukip. 

But what was bad for Ukip is a bonanza for Marine le Pen’s National Front party, for the Dutch MEP Geert Wilders—and for other ultra-rights, who have at last been able to form a group in the European Parliament containing MEPs from seven EU countries. 

Tories are planning a crackdown on transparency—by making it easier for ministers to veto freedom of information requests and introducing new red tape by lowering cost thresholds.

And who is behind these moves? That would be Michael Gove. Gove tried to hide departmental communications in a private email account registered to his wife—and then covered it up.

Toby Young, the self-promoting Tory journalist, has started a campaign to get fellow Tories to pay £3 to the Labour Party so that they can qualify as “affiliated members” and cast their votes for Jeremy Corbyn. In a rare insightful move the Labour Party has accepted Young’s £3, but is not going to let him vote.


Thomas Ashton—that’s the 4th Baron Ashton of Hyde to you

  • The Eton-educated Tory lord is head of David Cameron’s hunt
  • He responded to a question on income inequality by pronouncing, “We think that the best way to help the lower—the poorest—in this country is to enable them to get to work”
  • Those of us in the lower orders are grateful

The media like a vigilante

A man has boasted he is rounding hundreds of people up and detaining them. He ties some of them up and occasionally brandishes a shotgun at them.

The response from the Daily Mail and Daily Express was surprising. Rather than suggest some sort of panic necessary and demand something be done they celebrated the man they describe as the “Farminator”.

Chris Gadsden, who lives in Bedfordshire, patrols his land and claims to have hundreds of refugees coming on to his farm. He told the Daily Mail, “It’s not a race thing. My problem is they’re sneaking in and breaking our laws.” Well that makes it alright then.

The Things They Say…

‘Putin launches range of nuclear missiles’

The Independent slightly oversells a story on a Russian arms fair

‘He displays a fine line in self-deprecating wit’

Virginia Blackburn, in a 5-star review of Richard Desmond’s new book in the Daily Express owned by Richard Desmond

‘It’s been a long time since I’ve had a butler’ 

Shaun Woodward, who was a Labour MP until last month. He definitely had a butler when previously Tory MP for Witney

‘Not used anything too pompous’

Michael Gove displays his usual endearing self awareness in the writing rulebook for civil servants he has just produced

‘I think Nigel is a very divisive character’

Ukip’s Suzanne Evans who was promptly sacked

‘Suzanne Evans has not been sacked as a Ukip spokesman. The email seen by the BBC was issued without proper authority’

Then wasn’t, according to Ukip

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