"Westminster Correspondents' Dinner" Bruises Lobby Egos

The Ladies and Gentleman of the Lobby have degenerated into a gaggle of squabbling hairdressers because of a small scale attempt to recreate Washington’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The respective chairmen of the Lobby and the Press Gallery – James Chapman of the Mail and Chris Hope of the Telegraph – wrote to all three hundred hacks covering Parliament to tell them most of them will not be invited to their exclusive black tie dinner in January. All three party leaders are pencilled in to attend the grandiose “Westminster Correspondents’ Dinner 2014”, sponsored by Bloomberg and to be held in the cramped Members’ Dining Room:

“Once spaces have been allocated for guests and sponsors, there are 53 pairs of tickets available. This means that not everyone will be able to come who wants to. If the dinner is an over-subscribed success – which we very much hope it will be – we’re looking at moving to a larger venue in 2015. There is no easy way to divide 53 pairs of tickets between 300 political journalists. After extensive discussion, a sub-group of the Press Gallery committee, which has been set up to look at the best way forward, has decided to allocate one pair of tickets each to the 23 organisations listed below.

Daily and Sunday Express and Daily Star
Daily Mail, Mail on Line and Mail on Sunday
Daily and Sunday Mirror and Sunday People
Daily and Sunday Telegraph
Evening Standard
Financial Times
Guardian, Guardian Unlimited and Observer
Independent and Independent on Sunday
The Sun and the Sun on Sunday
The Times and Sunday Times
Regional lobby
Dods
BBC TV
BBC Radio
BBC Regions
ITN
Channel 4 News
Five News
ITV Regions
Press Association
Sky News
Reuters
Politics.co.uk”

So with just one pair of tickets per news organisation, all hell has broken loose as Sunday and Daily titles bicker and squabble over who gets to go. The only amusement for the warring inkies has been seeing the massively over represented BBC staff incandescent that they have been given just six tickets to share between dozens. Needless to say there are a lot of very bruised egos about.

Miserable deputies and lowly scribes who have missed out are placated with:

“The only comfort we can offer is that the disappointment will be spread widely. There will be losers in every organisation.” 

That’s should ease the pain for the poor hard done by lambs.

UPDATE: The BBC’s James Landale has been “elected” as the new chairman of the Press Gallery.




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