Tory minister Hugo Swire mocked claimants at last month’s £1,500 per place ‘black and white ball’ to raise funds for the Conservatives. His callous jibe was secretly recorded for the Channel 4 'Dispatches' programme.
Swire, an Old Etonian, was acting as auctioneer whilst guests made bids for a bust of Margaret Thatcher, a weekend’s pheasant shooting and a shoe shopping trip with Theresa May, amongst other lots.
Whilst encouraging a bidder at Iain Duncan Smith’s table to increase his bid, Swire is heard to say:
“£60,000. Iain, persuade him. He’s not on benefits ,is he? Well, if he is then he can afford it. £55,000?”
Swire went on to joke that:
“It’s quite naff to have Bentleys and Rolls Royces and Ferraris, because anybody could have them
“In the good old days of MP’s expenses we could have them too. But we don’t any more.”
In the exceedingly unlikely event that Mr Swire is reading this: in reality a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant would need to save every penny of their payments for 16 years to come up with £60,000.
Funny that, isn’t it?