Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fancy A Freebie?

For those of us not fortunate enough to be MPs, the likelihood of us attending some of the great sporting fixtures or pop events is pretty slim. The tickets can be prohibitively expensive and that's if you can even get your hands on them.

Trawling through the Register of Members' Interests reveals some pretty interesting events that have been filed under "Gifts, benefits and hospitality (UK)". By far the most popular single event attended by MPs this year was the Brit Awards. At least 11 MPs attended the event and I can only imagine the fun they had mingling with the likes of Robbie Williams and Madonna. Whether Robbie and Madonna found it fun to mingle with the motley group of MPs is less likely (full list below).

Speaking of Madonna, good to see that Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) attended the Madonna concert at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium and the Heineken Cup, both paid for by Western Power Distribution.

Jack Straw was also "lucky" enough to go to the Wimbledon ladies final this year courtesy of BP (yes, the multi-national oil corporation). Fortunately he didn't have to go alone, because his wife was also invited. Sky Sports is also nice enought to provide hospitality to Peter Hain to attend Chelsea's home games.

There are lots of MPs that do not accept these sorts of gifts and I'm not really sure why it's acceptable even if it is registered. It's not related to work outside parliament and seems to serve no other purpose than for corporate lobbyists to get close to MPs. Shouldn't MPs at least pay for their own tickets to these sports events and concerts?

MPs At The Brit Awards
Douglas Alexander(Paisley and Renfrewshire South)
Rt. Hon. Geoff Hoon(Ashfield)
Rt Hon Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
Rt Hon Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye and Lochaber)
Sadiq Khan (Tooting)
Rt Hon Theresa May (Maidenhead)
Adrian Sanders (Torbay)
Jonathan Shaw (Chatham and Aylesford)
Helen Southworth (Warrington South)
Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet)
John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford)

A list of MPs receiving other interesting gifts and hospitality can be found here. Check out the Register of Members' Interests here.

1 comment:

Alan said...

It's almost enough to make me want to be an MP.... apart from the fact I would have to sell my soul to do so. Oh, and I don't like our obsession with celebraties and sporting events very much. Come to think about it, I don't like sport at all.