Steerpike Steerpike

Mysterious hampers greet returning MPs

Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Gifts, earnings and outside interests: all are in the news this week thanks to an interactive tracker unveiled by Sky News and Tortoise. One of the headline revelations is that Theresa May earned £107,600 speech for a speech she delivered in Saudi Arabia in November – a country she blocked ministers and officials from visiting temporarily while she was prime minister following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But there’s a belated Christmas gift for those MPs who feel left out by some of their colleagues coining it in. For a number of Fortnum and Mason hampers have turned up this week at the Houses of Parliament to greet MPs and their staff, returning from their festive break. Inside is a message which reads: ‘Happy Holidays from Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.’

A spokesman for the Commons declined to say how many MPs have received the hampers; the Saudi Embassy has also been contacted for comment. The unsolicited gifts in question are Fortnum’s £140 ‘express hamper’ which boasts ‘teas and coffees for sipping; biscuits for nibbling; preserves and condiments for spreading, and even more deliciousness ready to enjoy.’

What better way to start the new year?

One of the said hampers that have arrived in parliament

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

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