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Steerpike

Coventry council’s Russian misadventure

Coventry council's Russian misadventure
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More than three months on, the ramifications from Putin's invasion are still being felt across the globe. Sanctions, protests, boycotts – couldn't happen to a nicer despot. One minor consequence in England though has been the demise of Coventry council's twin city relationship with Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad. The Labour-run authority temporarily cut ties with the city in March, announcing a pause in twinning links 'with a heavy heart... until such a time that they can resume.'

Now, a Freedom of Information request has discovered that the council spent more than £12,000 in the past five years on the ultimately doomed relationship. Funds were spent on four separate events, including a £3,478 visit to the city in February 2018 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad at which Putin told the assembled audience 'We have no right to let them down, to demonstrate cowardice or indecisiveness. In our actions, we must rise to the level of the achievements of our fathers and grandfathers.' How'd that one work out?

Elliot Keck of the TaxPayers' Alliance said to Mr S that: 'Taxpayers expect councils to fund frontline services, not expensive jollies to foreign countries.' Another trip in November 2019 cost Coventry council £2,863 for attendance at 'International People's Diplomacy Forum on the 75th Anniversary of the Twinning Link' while more than £2,000 was spent in 2018 to attend the '29th General Assembly of the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities.'

Fat lot of good all that talk did the Russians, eh.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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