What the Heli? Osborne Cops Copter Flak

George Osborne has bemused Tory MPs and amused leadership rivals by travelling to schmooze local Conservative associations… by helicopter. Osborne flew to Clearwell Castle in Gloustershire in November so he could deliver a speech to 138 guests at the Forest of Dean Conservative Association, over a dinner of duck confit, roast beef and cheesecake. Despite these fundraisers usually only raising a few grand, the cost of the helicopter ride came in at a staggering £8,000. It was paid for by Countywide Developments, a private donor.

Tory MPs suspect Osborne, or rather his financial backers, stumped up the exorbitant fee to help the Chancellor woo the grassroots on the so-called “rubber chicken circuit”. The idea of him choppering around the country to speak to associations has also gone down badly with the associations themselves, who would rather the donor just gave them the cash. Nothing says “I’m in touch and ready to lead the country” like flying to dinner in a helicopter…

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