Eric Pickles: ‘I didn’t spend £10,000 extra on biscuits’
Tory MP defends his department’s refreshments record
The Conservative MP Eric Pickles has launched a staunch defence of his Government department after it was claimed he spent an extra £10,000 in just one year on biscuits.
Figures released at the end of last year suggested Mr Pickles’ Department for Communities and Local Government had forked out £40,000 on serving custard creams, ginger nuts and digestives at meetings.
This was up from £30,000 in 2011, and led Labour minister Diane Abbot to remark: “Nobody begrudges Eric the odd digestive but he needs to cut his biscuit bill.
“Thanks to his policies councils all over the country are having to cut vital facilities like libraries.”
According to local newspaper reports, the Brentwood and Ongar MP has now appeared on London’s LBC Radio to defend himself, saying he isn’t “playing a jammie dodger here”.
Mr Pickles said the huge increase was the result of an “administrative error”, and added that the biscuit budget was still lower than when Labour was in power.
He told LBC’s Iain Dale: “The figure was for part of our hospitality budget.
“When we have meetings, if people come from a long distance we’ll give them tea and biscuits.
“The rise comes down to one of my fine civil servants putting the wrong thing in the wrong column. It is still a 94 per cent reduction though compared to Labour’s spending in the department.
“I’m not playing a jammie dodger here. I even bring in my own tea bags to work. I wouldn’t accept anything from another person.”
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
MH17 crash: Investigators discover more human remains and 'huge section of plane'
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...