Rum Collins: DCMS Committee Chair Enjoys Cocktails and Basketball on US Jolly

After a hard week probing fake news discovering there Russian intervention in the EU referendum was negligible, members of the DCMS committee are taking a well-earned break on their stateside knees-up. Chair Damian Collins shared a snap of the basketball arena at Madison Square Garden on Instagram. This morning Politico reported committee members were served cava, cocktails, smoked salmon, duck and mini-burgers at a the city’s flashy Newseum last night. Next time you’re blowing tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a vanity jolly halfway around the world, maybe don’t share the pics on Insta…

Damian Collins Rejected Tech Firms’ Offer to Save Taxpayers £30,000

Yesterday Guido told you how Damian Collins was spending an estimated £30,000 of taxpayer cash flying his Culture, Media and Sport select committee members on a jolly to New York and Washington to probe “fake news”. It seemed a total extravagance from one of the more grandstanding select committee chairmen. Buzzfeed have now followed up our story with the news that the CMS committee actually turned down an offer from US tech companies to fly their American executives over to London so they could face the committee in parliament. A move which would have saved UK taxpayers all that money. Clearly the temptation of a freebie holiday to the US was too much for members to resist. What a waste of money from Collins’ committee, which has spent the last year talking nonsense to get silly Russia / Brexit headlines in Remain papers…

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.”

Just download Skype?

Conservatives In: Spot the Difference

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

In the top photo, “Kent Conservatives In” activists pose for a picture as members of the local Tory Remain campaign.

In the second photo, “Sussex Conservatives In” activists pose for a similar snap.

Notice anything odd?

The pavement is the giveaway – the photos were taken in exactly the same place, they just swapped the banner. Look closer and you see the exact same activists appear in each photo, they just swapped places so they appear for the cameras in a different order. One way of disguising the fact no one wants to campaign for you…

UPDATE: This from the weekend is another ConservativesIN event, publicity photos on the right show the closely pressed crowd, on the left we can see that the speech was actually delivered to a seated audience of three. Which is, to be fair, a pretty good turnout for a Hammond speech…

c-in



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John McDonnell does a funny:

“I’m told there are a group of KGB colonels who are suing The Sun for associating themselves with us.”

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