Commerce Department Asked About Food and Beverage Bill for Liz Truss’ Trip to Japan | Liz truss

A government department is facing questions over an apparent breach of disclosure as Liz Truss and three officials spent more than £ 2,000 of public money on meals and drinks on a three-night trip to Tokyo.

The bill concerns a visit by Truss, then Secretary of Commerce, to Japan in October 2020 to sign the UK’s first post-Brexit trade deal, which she hailed at the time as a “historic moment. “for both countries.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) initially said in a parliamentary response to Labor that Truss and three accompanying staff had spent £ 182.74 of public funds on refreshments.

However, after a Freedom of Information request from Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry, it has now emerged that the party had in fact spent £ 2,080.44 of public money on food and drink .

“There is a clear pattern of behavior emerging here with Liz Truss, which raises serious questions about her character,” Thornberry told the Daily Mirror. “Else is she ready to do it about what else is she ready to do it?”

The Department of International Trade and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office have been approached for comment.

The questions about the trip to Japan, which Truss took between October 21 and 24, 2020, follow separate questions about the expenses associated with Truss, who has become one of the contenders for Boris Johnson’s succession to the head of the conservative party.

Earlier this week, Labor called on the government to explain why it claimed Truss hosted a £ 3,000 lunch at a private club because he was available on short notice, when correspondence later showed that ‘she had insisted on the place.

In a letter to International Trade Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the party also asked why Truss, Trevelyan’s predecessor in that role, had ignored officials ‘concerns over the cost of the members’ club, which is held by a donor. conservative.

Correspondence leaked to the Sunday Times showed Truss “refused to consider elsewhere” and demanded that public funds pay for the event with Joe Biden’s sales representative. Truss is said to have “explicitly requested that we reserve 5 Hertford Street” owned by Robin Birley, a £ 20,000 donor to the Johnson leadership campaign and the half-brother of Zac Goldsmith, the Environment Secretary.

Before Truss attended the event with US sales reps, an official described the club as “obviously incredibly expensive and more than I understand we would expect to pay for such a venue.” This was requested, the manager wrote, as the private dining room was “of the appropriate size and standard”.

Truss and his companions drank two measures of dry gin; three bottles of Pazo Barrantes Albariño, a Spanish white wine, for a total of £ 153; and two bottles of Beaucastel’s French red coudoulet, costing a total of £ 130, it has been reported.

A ministry spokesperson described the event as a diplomatic working dinner. They said: “This expense was originally posted incorrectly due to an administrative error and subsequently corrected. All DIT expenditures are systematically published in their entirety.

“The purpose of this trip was to sign a free trade agreement with Japan covering billions of pounds of trade, supporting jobs and growth across the UK.”

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