When did you know the pandemic was over? For Mr S it was when Sadiq Khan began accepting freebies again. Safely returned to office in May, the Mayor of London has since resumed making full use of complimentary tickets, according to his latest entry in the Greater London Assembly's register of 'gifts and hospitality.' Some 13 items were declared in 16 weeks – including a free pair of £100 Ray-Bans which Khan picked up at the All Points East festival in August.
Indeed, given some of his pronouncements throughout the pandemic about the perils of mass gatherings, the Mayor seems to have not merely welcomed the return of normalcy but embraced it with relish. More than £14,000 of free tickets were declared including passes to five of England's seven Euro 2020 games against Scotland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark and Italy. There was also a pair of two Royal Box tickets to Wimbledon Women's Singles Final – worth £488 per head – plus four seats at Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella musical and a further two at the Fourth Test between England and India in September.
Other more eclectic freebies include 'hospitality' at third tier side AFC Wimbledon, £149-a-seat tickets to watch the Oval Invincibles take on the London Spirit at The Hundred and a copy of a photography book called 'London in Silence' by St Pauls schoolboy Hugo Berman – a work 'sent unsolicited to City Hall' but which would be 'impolite to return.'
Steerpike is delighted to see Khan making the most of London's reopened activities and looks forward to him tackling the post-Covid crime wave with similar enthusiasm in future.