The Cabinet minister was accused of ‘hiding the truth’ after the International Trade Department failed to highlight her team spent more than £ 2,000 on a three-night trip
Image: Tayfun Salci / ZUMA Wire News / REX / Shutterstock)
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been accused of “hiding the truth” as new revelations emerged about her expensive restaurant tastes.
Ms Truss did not disclose £ 1,897.70 of public money spent on fine meals and drinks on a three-night trip to Tokyo in 2020.
The then Commerce Secretary visited Japan from October 21-24, 2020 to sign Britain’s first post-Brexit trade deal.
After the trip, the Department for International Trade (DIT) claimed their travel group had spent £ 182.74 of public money on food and drink, in response to a parliamentary question asked by Labor’s Emily Thornberry.
But two months after Ms Thornberry filed for FOI, DIT was forced to reveal that she splashed £ 2,080.44, as she left with three officials.
Yesterday evening, Foreign Ministry sources suggested Ms Truss and her team were unable to vacate their accommodation due to Covid rules in Tokyo.
But they could not say how they had accumulated the expenses, nor if they had stayed in a hotel with its own bars and restaurants.
The Mirror understands that it is standard practice for ministers to use their expenses while traveling abroad to cover the cost of meals and drinks, including bills paid by officials at the time.
Shadow Attorney General Ms Thornberry told the Mirror: “There is a clear pattern of behavior emerging here with Liz Truss which raises serious questions about her character.
“Else is she ready to do it about what else is she ready to do it?”
This isn’t the first time Ms Truss’ department has failed to properly disclose the exact amount of public money she spent on fancy meals.
After her visit to Japan, Ms Truss spent four nights in Vietnam and Singapore to sign other post-Brexit trade deals with four staff.
The DIT initially claimed that Ms Truss’s travel team spent nothing on meals and drinks.
But then Trade Minister Greg Hands was forced to reveal that the travel group had actually spent £ 4,034, the equivalent of around £ 1,000 per person, or £ 250 per night.
Greg Martin / Cornwall live)
Mr Hands also revealed Ms Truss’s travel party spent £ 3,980.06 on accommodation in addition to meals.
“How did they go from saying there was no living expenses, to saying that the traveling party incurred an expense of £ 1,000 per person, which equates to £ 250 per night?” Mrs. Thornberry questioned.
A spokesperson for DIT said: “This expense was originally posted incorrectly due to an administrative error and subsequently corrected.
“All DIT expenses 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.”
It comes days after it was revealed Ms Truss hosted a lunch at an expensive private club owned by a Tory donor, after canceling public service advice to search for a cheaper venue.
Leaked correspondence, first published in The Sunday Times, revealed the former Commerce Secretary “refused to consider anywhere” except at 5 Hertford Street for a meeting with Joe Biden’s trade representative in August of last year.
Ms Truss has reportedly used the 5 Hertford Street club in the past to host ‘fizz with Lizz’ dinners with MPs and ‘biz for Liz’ receptions with potential donors, in preparation for a likely leadership bid.
The club is considered to be the most exclusive club in London, having hosted Prince Harry’s first date with Meghan.
Ms Truss is widely seen as the favorite to become prime minister if Boris Johnson is ousted.
The government has been contacted for comment.