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Thursday, 10 July 2014

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Cumbrian MP ‘honest’ about £5,500 Olympic hospitality

Carlisle's MP accepted two tickets and hospitality to the Olympics, worth about £5,500.

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John Stevenson: We will emphasise its importance

John Stevenson declared the hospitality, which saw him and another person attend the Olympics opening ceremony in London as guests of Nestle.

Speaking to the News & Star today, Mr Stevenson said he had been “honest and above board”, and openly declared his acceptance of the food giant’s offer.

“Nestle very kindly invited me in my capacity as chair of the all-party food and drink manufacturing group,” he continued.

“I have had quite a few dealings with Nestle in that role, as they are obviously a major player within my all-party group and have a plant within my constituency.

“They had an allocation for the Olympics, and offered me two tickets within that allocation. This was not taxpayers’ money.”

Mr Stevenson said he felt it appropriate to accept the tickets from the company in the interests of improving his relationship with Nestle.

He added: “They are a business in the UK who will be investing £500m in the next few years – this is a major investment in the British economy, and I would like some of that to come to Carlisle.”

According to a national newspaper, the hospitality accepted by Mr Stevenson was the second highest of all MPs.

Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris accepted £11,750 worth of free tickets and hospitality.

However, Mr Stevenson pointed out that the list of MPs who attended the Olympics and Paralympics using tax-payers’ cash has not yet been revealed.

He admitted that as a back-bench MP he would not have accepted tickets funded by the tax-payer, but believes it was right for Government ministers and shadow cabinet ministers to have attended.

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