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Saturday, September 24, 2022

The Norwich City question

The Guardian reports on some very interesting expenditure charged to Foreign Office credit cards at the same time that Liz Truss was Foreign Secretary. 

They say that officials are facing questions about spending on credit cards, including £1,841 at Norwich City football club online, and £10,000 at Fortnum and Mason:

Emily Thornberry, the shadow attorney general, wrote to the Foreign Office questioning why spending was up by 45% on its government procurement cards between September 2021 to July 2022.

She asked Gillian Keegan, a senior minister, to give more details about the spending on a range of items, including luxury restaurants and premium home decor brands such as White Company, Ercol furniture and Osborne and Little, a supplier of fabric and wallpaper.

The Foreign Office declined to provide explanations to Thornberry saying it would cost too much money, so the shadow attorney general went public with a letter to Keegan. Data on the FCDO’s spending shows thousands spent on high-end restaurants, such as the Cinnamon Club, the Corinthia hotel, Stanley’s in Chelsea and the Kennington Tandoori, a famous haunt of politicians.

Thornberry also queried more than £900 to Calm Over Chaos, which appears to supply adult colouring books, and £1,850 to Soul Sanctuary, which may be a wellness app. There were two payments of more than £4,000 in total to a barber company called Finishing Touches, although it is understood this relates to general maintenance rather than beauty.

Thornberry told Keegan it was difficult to understand the amounts spent on “high-end private catering; wellness and beauty treatments; extensive supplies from UK wineries; large amounts of home furnishing; and even £1,841 at the Norwich City club shop”.

Norwich City football club is a team supported by Truss. In 2018, as chief secretary to the Treasury, she gave a football shirt from Norwich City to a US official in Cleveland, Ohio in an attempt to encourage an American football club to relocate to the UK.

Obviously, more details are needed, not least how Norwich City Football Club got involved in British foreign policy.

The Kennington Tandoori was the venue for Cameron's farewell meal as PM.

There is a food connection with Norwich City, owned by Delia Smith. However, she has made no impact in the US.
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