Q: When can George Osborne be spotted without a hi-vis jacket on?
A: When he’s wearing black tie and trying to become Tory leader!
The latest edition of the MPs’ register of financial interests raised collective eyebrows this week, with the revelation that Osborne had been flown to schmooze a local Conservative Association in a helicopter loaned him by a Tory donor’s company.
His sudden interest in the Conservative Party grassroots has been put down by rivals to the slowly simmering Tory leadership contest, which is expected to explode into the open once Boris ends his stint as London mayor.
And Scrapbook has tracked down evidence of yet another Osborne chopper trip — a 150-mile jaunt to the East Midlands to press the flesh with 500 other Tories on 7 January:
“The chancellor arrived by helicopter straight from delivering a keynote speech on the economy in Cardiff and stayed for more than four hours”
The reference to his helicopter made it into the print edition Newark Advertiser — but was mysteriously absent from the paper’s website. At least we can get a sense of the evening from Twitter:
— Councillor Kate Cook (@CllrKateCook) January 9, 2016
“Great opportunity to … discuss austerity measures” (while wearing black tie).