Royal visit blamed for ships race losses: Extravaganza on Mersey used up pounds 600,000 of taxpayers' money
Christopher Farrow, chief executive of the Merseyside Development Corporation, which ploughed pounds 600,000 of taxpayers' money into the loss-making extravaganza, told MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee that the decision by the Spanish monarch to attend 'dramatically altered' the hospitality budget.
Their entourage was put up in hotels, their transport was paid for and because protocol demanded that government ministers, ambassadors and their staff, and other dignatories accompany them, the eventual bill went even higher.
Pressed by Alan Milburn, MP for Darlington, Mr Farrow was unable to put a figure on the final cost of the royal visit.
It was one of several lapses by Mr Farrow. MPs repeatedly said that they were unimpressed with his evidence and by the MDC's failure to honour the debts incurred by Carroll Promotions, an external company set up to stage the concert, which went into liquidation.
Alan Williams, MP for Swansea West, complained that small businesses which supplied Carroll Promotions were misled into believing the concert company was a 'bona fide operation of substance' because it had received substantial support from the MDC.
In fact, Carroll Promotions was a pounds 2 shell company which went bust, and its creditors have still to be paid.
Mr Williams accused the MDC of deserting its normal investment policy. Usually, he said, such a flimsy company would not stand a chance of receiving such sums from the MDC.
The ire of MPs was particularly reserved for Sir Desmond Pitcher, chairman of the MDC. As previously highlighted in the Independent, Sir Desmond played a prominent role in the disaster.
In a letter to MPs, Brendan Carroll, head of Carroll Promotions, went further. Mr Carroll said: 'In addition to running the concert, I was still acting as PR consultant to the MDC, in which capacity I was instructed to ensure that the corporation - and most especially, its chairman - should bask in the reflected glory of the event.'
In press announcements, Mr Carroll duly trumpeted: 'Fanfare for a New World was the brainchild of Sir Desmond Pitcher. . .'
At the concert, Sir Peter Ustinov also paid tribute to Sir Desmond - yet the chairman had not lost his job, had not accepted responsibility and was not appearing before MPs.
Mr Farrow disputed Mr Carroll's version of events, insisting that Sir Desmond had not played a major part in overseeing the concert and had not demanded he receive credit for the idea.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...