Damian Collins’ Fake News Jolly To US Costing Taxpayer £30,000+

An MPs’ jolly to Washington DC and New York this week to probe ‘fake news’ will cost the taxpayer more than £30,000, according to estimates obtained by Guido. This website understands jet-setting MPs on the DCMS Select Committee trip have already left the country, despite the main evidence session not taking place until Thursday, when evidence will be taken from tech bosses on a visit to George Washington University, Washington DC. The Committee has already heard evidence from representatives of tech companies in Britain. They do have London offices…

Arrangements for these kind of jaunts are made through Commons Liaison Committee. According to an estimate provided to Guido this afternoon:

  • Fights of 3 to 10 hours in length during the day should be in premium economy class. Ministers’ private offices also have a deal with BA, so one assumes this is extended to members for committee travel. Flights longer than 3 hours overnight (which would be from Dulles) can be taken in business. But assuming they don’t take business, and looking 1 month ahead, then premium economy from LHR to JFK and then Dulles to LHR between 5th and 9th March for 9 people (8 committee members, 1 clerk) would come to £23,543.19.
  • Hotels in Manhattan for 2 nights and then DC would come to £5,226.68. This is 2 nights at the Row NYC (4-star, Midtown Manhattan) at £2,130.68 and 2 nights at the State Plaza Hotel (3 star, very near George Washington University) which came to £3,096, both for 9 separate rooms.
  • Assuming a food allowance of £50 per person per day, so £2,250.
  • Amtrak from New York to DC would cost £603.27.
  • This gives a total of £31,623.14.

Peeved parliamentarians say attention seeking remainer DCMS committee chair Damian Collins is using the trip to bolster his personal reputation. Enquiries to the DCMS Select Committee did not yield an exact figure for the cost of the trip.

A Taxpayers’ Alliance spokesman told Guido:

“I’m not sure taxpayers will be too proud that their hard-earned cash will be splashed on an all-expenses-paid trip for politicians to lecture journalists on ‘fake news’. It’s even less impressive that they are refusing to disclose the cost of this jaunt to Washington D.C.- it’s almost as if they are worried about the reaction of this egregious use of our money. In the future, our elected servants should worry more about how they spend our money and less about lectures with foreign media.”

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