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.
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
- 2 Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
- 3 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 4 Say yes to 'no-poo': It's been three years since I stopped washing my hair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...