Goodwin dined at Chequers while RBS was losing £24bn

Disgraced banking chief on guest list as PM's hospitality bill soared to £136,000

Fred Goodwin, the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, wined and dined at Chequers with Gordon Brown in the same year that he was presiding over the biggest losses in British corporate history.

Sir Fred, who resigned last October shortly before the RBS collapsed with debts of more than £24bn, visited Chequers with his wife, Lady Joyce, earlier in 2008. Yesterday, Downing Street released a glittering list of the rich and famous who have been Gordon and Sarah Brown's guests at the Prime Minister's country residence in a series of announcements about the cost of running the Government.

Sir Victor Blank and Eric Daniels, chairman and chief executive of Lloyds banking group, and their wives were also on the guest list. Sir Victor was forced to stand down in May after it emerged Lloyds had made crippling losses from its merger with HBOS the previous September.

Gordon and Sarah Brown's hospitality bill almost doubled in one year. In 2007-8, they spent a modest £78,900 on guests including only a few names from showbusiness, but a weighty contingent of businessmen, writers, architects and others from less glamorous professions. But in 2008-9, as Gordon's political fortunes slumped, the bill for hospitality at Chequers and 10 Downing Street soared to £136,000.

Fine dining with Kate

Among the 205 guests invited to Chequers during the year was a galaxy of television stars, such as Matt Lucas and David Walliams, of Little Britain fame – but noticeably did not include a single trade union leader.

Kate Garraway, the former GMTV presenter, received an invitation, and brought her husband, the former Labour spin doctor Derek Draper.

Two other GMTV presenters, Lorraine Kelly and Penny Smith, were also invited. So was Lisa Aziz, presenter of ITV's West Country Tonight, who is currently suspended because of a dispute over her expenses. She is reputedly accused of seven wrong claims, including £5.75 for cleaning a child's top.

Other guests were the fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, the writer Bill Bryson, the comedians Jimmy Carr and Bruce Forsyth, the actors Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson, the opera diva Lesley Garrett, the children's poet laureate Michael Rosen, the Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes, and the football commentator John Motson. An unusually large number of journalists also received invitations, suggesting that Mr Brown has been working hard on improving relations with the press. They include Colin Myler, the editor of the News of the World who was a central figure in the privacy case brought by the Formula 1 boss Max Mosley, and Will Lewis, editor of the Daily Telegraph, whose newspaper obtained a leaked list of MPs' expenses.


Ministers racked up a bill of £9.4m in foreign trips, a rise of almost 80 per cent on the previous year, despite the recession. The Prime Minister alone spent £4.6m globetrotting. Many trips were made to build support for the G20 summit, which he hosted in London in April.

The Prime Minister's trip to the US, where he met President Obama in March, cost almost £290,000. However, his most expensive outing came later that month, when he spent £743,341 preparing for his G20 summit by visiting Strasbourg, France, the US, Brazil and Chile. He also spent £500,000 on a trip to Asia in August that included a stop off at the Beijing Olympics.

He was not the only minister to take in a world-class sporting occasion. Both the then Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, and his minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, spend £4,000 to attend the Champions League final in Moscow last May. Mr Sutcliffe also attended the Euro 2008 Championships.

Gifts for Gordon

From briefcases, bowls and gold coins to rugs, pens and hampers, Gordon Brown returned from his travels bearing armfuls of presents.

He declared 38 gifts – the vast majority of them from foreign leaders. But there was no mention of the DVD boxset of classic American movies he received from President Obama in March – because it was valued at below the £140 threshold over which gifts have to be registered.

More generous was Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, who three times gave Mr Brown a box of fine silk ties. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, lavished four presents on him over the 12 months – wine (twice), glassware and, less conventionally, an eBook reading device.

All his gifts have gone in store in Downing Street, apart from hampers and wine which have either been used for entertaining or donated to charity.

While he was Business Secretary, John Hutton was given an engraved silver pocket watch from the former US President George Bush.

Charity work

Gordon or Sarah Brown hosted no fewer than 34 receptions for charity in Downing Street, all paid for by the charities involved. The biggest was for London Fashion Week, in September, with 200 guests. In addition, there were 50 receptions for other good causes at which either the Prime Minister or his wife played host. Nearly all were in Downing Street, though some had to be moved to other venues to accommodate the numbers – such as the huge reception for 670 guests held in Lancaster House in October as part of the preparations for the London Olympics.

Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
Life and Style
food + drink
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Service and Support (Financial Services, ITIL, ORC, TT)

£75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of Service and Support (Financial Ser...

Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, JAXB, ...

Service Delivery Manager - ITIL / ServiceNow / Derivatives

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading Financial Services orga...

Senior Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home