Angela Rayner calls for investigation into Fizz’s ‘troubled’ campaign dinner with Liz

0

LABOR and the Lib Dems have called for an investigation into allegations that Liz Truss broke strict spending rules around a campaign event.

The Foreign Secretary came under increasing pressure to answer questions at a ‘Fizz with Liz’ champagne dinner last October at an exclusive Mayfair club paid for by millionaire businessman Robin Birley.

According to the Independent, around 12 Tory MPs attended the ceremony, which was worth £3,000.

Ms Truss, like all MPs, must declare any gifts to Parliament’s Register of Interests worth more than £300. This includes hospitality.

The dinner does not appear on the most recent copy of the register.

This morning Labor said Ms Truss had also failed to declare the rally in her capacity as a minister under the ministerial code.

Her spokesman previously claimed the dinner had ‘nothing to do’ with Ms Truss and that she was one of several Tory MPs invited by ‘organizer and host’ Mr Birley.

However, the independent obtained a copy of the invitation which was sent from his Commons email address.

It read: “Liz Truss MP is delighted to invite you to dinner at 5 Hertford Street on October 26 at 7.30pm. Please confirm your attendance by October 10. Best wishes, Office of Liz Truss.

An MP present told the newspaper: “Liz was the center of attention, in great shape and we discussed all sorts of things.

“We had champagne, cocktails, wine and a delicious three course meal. Mr. Birley came over briefly to say hello.”

Another MP said: ‘Liz said it was time to stand up for Conservative values. She didn’t talk about leadership, but we all knew why we were there. She wanted our support.

David Davis, who backs Rishi Sunak, told the paper: ‘We just lost a prime minister after he broke the rules and couldn’t bring himself to tell the whole truth in the House of Commons .

“It would be a tragedy if a future Prime Minister did the same before even arriving in Downing Street.”

Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner and Shadow House Leader Thangam Debbonaire have written to Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, demanding an investigation.

Their letter says that by using parliamentary paper and ‘explicitly inviting colleagues in her capacity as an MP via her parliamentary email address, Ms Truss’ event clearly falls within the transparency requirements of the code of conduct for MPs’.

They added: “However, as Foreign Secretary, it is likely that Tory members attended this event in order to be in the company of the Foreign Secretary, and it would therefore be expected that she would make ministerial statements in the usual way.

“The Foreign Secretary needs to answer some serious questions about why she failed to report this large sum of hospitality funding, and why she is now claiming she had ‘nothing to do’ with organization of the event, despite sending personal invitations to all attendees.”

They added: “We urge you to make the necessary investigation of the many issues raised by these allegations. The public has a right to know why such a large hospitality donation was not properly declared by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ms Rayner said: “Liz Truss is mouthful of the same vintage as Boris Johnson. She thinks the rules don’t apply to her and she can take the British public for fools.

“There must be an urgent investigation into the obscure gifts made by this millionaire aristocrat and why, as Foreign Secretary, she failed to reveal them.”

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems have called on the Common Standards watchdog to investigate. Deputy party leader Daisy Cooper said: “The last thing this country needs is another Boris Johnson. Yet here we are again, this time hearing allegations of rule-breaking against the Tory favorite for prime minister. You’d be forgiven for feeling a sense of deja vu.

Ms Cooper added: “Liz Truss needs to be clear about who paid what at her schmoozing events. I hope the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards will get to the bottom of this before public confidence is further shaken.

A spokesperson for Ms Truss told the Independent: ‘This was not arranged for her, on her behalf or by her.

“She was invited by Robin Birley with lots of MPs. It was set up by Mr. Birley to discuss lower taxes and deregulation.

The newspaper said it later demanded an explanation for the email. Ms Truss’s spokesperson replied: ‘I am aware of the email but it was not her event. We stay on the line.

“We had very clear advice. A declaration should only be made if there was a benefit for Liz, or if it was above the threshold for individual declarations for the MPs Register of Interests.

“Liz was one of many deputies present.”

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.