Tories accused of hypocrisy over conference events

Conservatives have been accused of "rank hypocrisy" for taking cash from public bodies to sponsor events at their party conference.

Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, has criticised the use of taxpayers' money by public-sector organisations to raise their profile or carry out lobbying.

Groups booked to host events at the conference in Birmingham, at a minimum cost of £293.75, include London 2012, Westminster City Council, Thames Gateway Parliamentary Group, the National Association of Local Councils, Leeds City Region Partnership and the Association of North East Councils, PR Week reported yesterday.

Stuart Bruce, managing director of the Wolfstar consultancy, said: "It is rank hypocrisy of the Tories to be on the one hand condemning public sector organisations for paying consultancies to provide public relations yet to then rake in thousands of pounds from the very same organisations to attend their conference."