Steerpike Steerpike

How much did Sadiq Khan’s California cannabis trip cost the taxpayer?

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Like many Londoners, Mr S was baffled to see our beloved mayor cavorting around America last month. As crime in the capital continued to soar, Sadiq Khan found time for a four-day jaunt across the States, in which time London suffered a murder and an eight-man mass brawl at Selfridges. The highlight of Khan’s trip appeared to be the right-on Labour man announcing a plan to move towards decriminalising cannabis, even though he, er, has no power to do so.

So how much did this joint venture cost the taxpayer? Well, Steerpike’s Freedom of Information request has finally got a reply and it turns out that more than £34,000 was spent on the nine-man delegation. This included almost £10,000 worth of accommodation for the jamboree; perhaps unsurprising when you consider that locations include the £236-a-night Lexington Hotel in New York, the four star Orchard Garden hotel in San Francisco and another four star Hilton hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Naturally, City Hall’s 22-man press team was swiftly on the case, firing off five pages of self-justification. They have included an agenda which helpfully highlights the vital, vital work which Khan did in America. It included meetings with progressive icons Hilary Clinton and Mike Bloomberg (of course), going to a ‘creative industries reception’ in LA with James Corden and throwing the ‘ceremonial first pitch at Oracle Park’ in San Francisco ahead of a baseball game.

Given the ongoing railway chaos, how Londoners must wish that the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule applied to their elected mayor too…

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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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