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SBD Global/July 13, 2012/Olympics

British MPs Who Scrutinized Games Given Free Tickets To 100m Final

Members of Parliament belonging to a House of Commons committee whose task was scrutinizing the London Games have "accepted free corporate tickets" to the men’s 100m final, according to Fariha Karim of the LONDON TIMES. Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Chair John Whittingdale gave main sponsors BT "permission to offer him and his ten colleagues" the £420 ($648) tickets "in return for briefing them in the run-up to the Games." BT offered the tickets to Whittingdale and the committee "only after they had checked with him that it would be appropriate to do so" (LONDON TIMES, 7/12). The PA's Sam Lister reported that the MPs "will not receive hospitality and will attend a briefing" at BT Tower first about the company's involvement in the games. Whittingdale told the Daily Mail, "My committee has spent five years having regular sessions on the preparations for the Olympics. It's not terribly surprising that we might have wanted to go and have a look. It would be utterly extraordinary if we didn't take a look at the Games. I don't see that this compromises the committee at all." Conservative Philip Davies said, "Somebody invited us to go along. We've been scrutinising the Olympics for ages. I don't see why we shouldn't go along and have a look at the Games." Select Committee Member Louise Mensch said that she was offered tickets "but decided not to go." Mensch: "I didn't take them up myself but I can't say that I'm massively exercised by my colleagues taking it up, no." Labour Committee Member Steve Rotheram said, "I have not accepted tickets. It's on a Sunday and I've got better things to do" (PA, 7/12).
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