MPs accept free tickets to men's 100m final at London 2012
Thursday 12 July 2012
A group of MPs has accepted free tickets to one of most in-demand events of the Olympic games, sponsor BT has confirmed.
The telecomms giant invited members of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which has scrutinised the running of the games, to the men's 100m final.
Four MPs have accepted the tickets, worth £420 each, including committee chairman John Whittingdale.
The MPs will not receive hospitality and will attend a briefing at BT Tower first about the company's involvement in the games.
Mr Whittingdale told the Daily Mail: "BT are having a briefing on their involvement in the Olympics. My committee has spent five years having regular sessions on the preparations for the Olympics. It's not terribly surprising that we might have wanted to go and have a look.
"This is not the first time I've been to events with BT or companies that operate in the area that we scrutinise. But they are a major sponsor of the Olympics and have put a huge amount of money into the Games.
"It would be utterly extraordinary if we didn't take a look at the Games. I don't see that this compromises the committee at all."
Conservative Philip Davies told the newspaper: "Somebody invited us to go along. We've been scrutinising the Olympics for ages. I don't see why we shouldn't go along and have a look at the Games."
Select Committee member Louise Mensch said she was offered tickets but decided not to go because she was "not massively interested in the briefing to which the tickets were attached".
The Tory MP told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I don't see any problem, actually, with people who have been sitting on an Olympic delivery inquiry going to the Games and watching how well they are delivered.
"I believe that people who have been working on the Games do have a preferential route in to get some tickets to go and see them - that seems reasonably right.
"I didn't take them up myself but I can't say that I'm massively exercised by my colleagues taking it up, no."
Labour committee member Steve Rotheram said: "I have not accepted tickets. It's on a Sunday and I've got better things to do."
A BT spokesman said: "The cross party committee has a remit that covers the Olympics and so as a major sponsor we feel it is appropriate to brief them on BT's role in helping to deliver the Games as well as the impact for the legacy programme and local regeneration.
"The briefing concludes with our hosting them at the stadium.
"Four members of the committee have accepted to date and the cost to BT is under £500 per guest. The vast majority of the tickets we have bought are going to our retail customers through our Record Breakers promotion or our employees for reward and recognition."
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