Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship

As Tory conference gets under way in Birmingham, it has emerged the ruling party are breaking the government’s own rules over sponsorship. An investigation by Political Scrapbook has also revealed that the Conservatives are refusing to refund money spent on conference passes by organisations axed by the coalition.

The last year has seen a series of strident attacks on public sector lobbying and promotion from senior Conservatives. Criticising local authorities in July, Eric Pickles said:

“We are calling time on the scandalous practice of government lobbying government. It is an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ cash and contributed towards the corrosive culture of spin that Labour cultivated”

Indeed, PR Week reported that Pickles’ own Department for Communities and Local Government had “instructed public bodies not to spend money on stalls at party conferences”. But it seems that this DCLG edict has been ignored by Conservative Central Office. According to documents obtained by Scrapbook under freedom of information, governing parties charged Liverpool City Council a whopping £21,963 for exhibition stands at party conferences:

This local authority is doubtless not the only “public body” with a stand in Birmingham’s ICC. Furthermore, organisations including London 2012, Westminster City Council and Thames Gateway have booked so-called “hosting’ packages”.

But what is more shocking are Tory attempts to launder public money into party coffers with absolutely no benefit to the taxpayer. Where a publicly-funded organisation has been axed by the government the Conservatives will refuse refunds for conference passes. In June it was announced 8 of 9 Regional Development Agencies in England would close. The government told the RDA network in August that no members of staff should attend party conferences.

Having been banned from attending by the government, the North West Development Agency immediately sought to recoup the £1,500 – public money – they had spent on passes only to be told:

“Unfortunately passes are non-refundable due to the processes that each one goes through to receive proper security clearance”

When it comes to their own conference, Tory lectures on wasting public money don’t seem to apply.

9 Comments

  1. NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  2. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  3. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  4. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  5. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  6. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  7. ally says:

    RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  8. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  9. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  10. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  11. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  12. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  13. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  14. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  15. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  16. RT @psbook NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  17. RT @psbook NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  18. RT @psbook NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  19. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  20. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  21. RT @HouseofTwitsLab: RT @psbook NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  22. @EricPickles Please explain why you've broken your own rules by taking sponsorship money from public bodies http://is.gd/fIk6f (via @psbook)

  23. RT @JohnPrescott: @EricPickles Please explain why you've broken your own rules by taking sponsorship money from public bodies http://is.gd/fIk6f (via @psbook)

  24. RT @psbook: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/dcrJDe #cpc10 #toryfail

  25. Er…you do know Liverpool City Council is Labour controlled, right?

  26. MTPT: Yes, but LCC haven’t been on their high horse about public expenditure on this kind of promotion/sponsorship/PR.

    The Tories are trying to have it both ways. If Pickles is so hot on this kind of thing then why did they accept the money?

  27. Yonmei says:

    Tories to RDAs: No, you can't come to our conference: & no, we won't give you your money back. http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10 @psbook #toryfail

  28. Interesting: NWDA, like other RDA's, was banned from attending party conferences but Cons refused a refund on passes http://bit.ly/crjniD

  29. @PS: You make it sound as if Eric Pickles was personally processing the conference bookings. If he personally took the booking from LCC, then you might have an argument.

    In reality – as I suspect you’re well aware – all three major party conferences are events run by third party events managements companies (in the case of CPC10, Fingerprint Events Limited), so both halves of your article (LCC’s booking, and the enforcement of the no-refunds clause) rest on a wholly (and obviously) false premise: that the Conservative Party was the counterparty to either transaction.

    Now, did those FoI documents happen to say how much LCC spent on attending Labour’s conference?

  30. Andy Marr says:

    RT @JohnPrescott: @EricPickles Please explain why you've broken your own rules by taking sponsorship money from public bodies http://is.gd/fIk6f (via @psbook)

  31. RT @TodJSullivan: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  32. RT @geedee86: RT @TodJSullivan: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  33. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  34. Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  35. RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  36. RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  37. Reece Emmitt says:

    RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  38. Max Bell says:

    RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  39. RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  40. RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  41. Lescromps says:

    RT @psbook: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/dcrJDe (Figures#cpc10)

  42. RT @psbook: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/dcrJDe <<inc #london2012

  43. Teresa says:

    RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  44. RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  45. Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship … http://bit.ly/9tABUL

  46. @EricPickles STILL waiting for you to explain why you broke your own rules by taking sponsorship money from public bodies http://is.gd/fIk6f

  47. RT @johnprescott @EricPickles STILL waiting4 U 2 explain y U broke yr own rules by tkng sponsorship $$ from public bodies http://is.gd/fIk6f

  48. RT @JohnPrescott: @EricPickles STILL waiting for you to explain why you broke your own rules by taking sponsorship money from public bodies http://is.gd/fIk6f

  49. Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship … http://bit.ly/awuEIC

  50. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  51. Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship, Political Scrapbook alleges: http://bit.ly/aa8qko #cpc10 #con10

  52. RT @mousetrapmedia: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship, Political Scrapbook alleges http://bit.ly/aa8qko #cpc10

  53. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  54. RT @wdjstraw: RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  55. RT @wdjstraw: RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  56. RT @wdjstraw: RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  57. RT @wdjstraw: RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  58. RT @wdjstraw: RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  59. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  60. Rosie says:

    RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  61. RT @PSBook: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10 #BUSTED

  62. RT @PSBook: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10 #BUSTED

  63. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  64. RT @wdjstraw: RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  65. @David_Singleton *ahem* Tories break government rules over conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10 (via @psbook)

  66. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  67. Just seen this, picking up on PRWeek story RT @psbook Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f

  68. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  69. In case you were in any doubts that the Tory party are utter twats. http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  70. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  71. Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship … http://bit.ly/bkZKNo

  72. GRS-ONE says:

    RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  73. Richard says:

    @MatthewTaylor. Don’t the Tories get to instruct the event management company running the conference whom to allow to exhibit?

  74. gazzzmoly says:

    RT @Conorpope: RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  75. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  76. RT @DeludedDonny: RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10

  77. “@psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10”

  78. @MTPT: Right. So can I get a catering stand called “ERIC PICKLES’ BIG FAT PIE SHOP” for next year then? Of course not.

    You can’t, on the one hand, have your own government department take a strong line on party conference stands and then invoke plausible deniability using an events company. It’s hypocrisy and a clear case of “do as I say not as I do”.

  79. RT @psbook: NEW –> Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://is.gd/fIk6f #cpc10 Staggering hypocrisy.

  80. Red Rag says:

    Typical Tory ……Do as I say, not as I do.

  81. rob says:

    Perhaps the Director of Communications wasn’t aware of what was going on – he does appear to have a record of not knowing you know!

  82. The Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship. http://fb.me/EHbwwis5

  83. RT @LabourLocalGov: The Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship. http://fb.me/EHbwwis5

  84. RT @LabourLocalGov: The Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship. http://fb.me/EHbwwis5

  85. RT @LabourLocalGov: The Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship. http://fb.me/EHbwwis5

  86. RT @psbook: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/dcrJDe

  87. Mags W says:

    “@yorkierosie: RT @psbook: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/dcrJDe” <hypocritical?!

  88. @Rob: What party conference? What exhibition stands? Have we met before, I’m afraid I can’t remember?

  89. RT @LabourLocalGov The Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship. http://fb.me/EHbwwis5

  90. RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  91. Rachael says:

    RT @sunny_hundal: Tories break their own rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/cfRZg3 (good bit of digging by @psbook)

  92. Helen W says:

    RT @yorkierosie: RT @psbook: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship http://bit.ly/dcrJDe

  93. Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship…. http://fb.me/uBd0p8Nv

  94. Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship – http://is.gd/fJP74

  95. RT @michael__ellis: Tories break government rules over party conference sponsorship – http://is.gd/fJP74

  96. rob says:

    @Political Scrapbook

    Yes – you’re getting the hang of it now. Straight out of the AC shredded manual!

  97. Jen Nancy says:

    Tories break government rules over party conference <b>sponsorship</b> <b… http://goo.gl/fb/br0al #event #sponsorship

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