Is it right that MPs got to see the Olympic Games for free?
10:01 18 February 2013
Three of the region’s MPs received London 2012 Olympic tickets purchased by the government – to attend swimming, BMX and water polo
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey also received a ticket and hospitality at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony, valued at £695, from television broadcaster Channel Four, plus a free ticket from BT for the showpiece 100 metres final.
Ms Coffey, who was an Olympic ambassador for the government, visited the water polo with a £30 ticket from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
She also declared hospitality costs of £350 from DCMS because of her ambassadorial role, listed as covering approximately five hours.
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham visited a session of swimming, which cost £185 for a ticket, in his capacity as a foreign office minister.
And Norwich North MP Chloe Smith received a £55 ticket to attend the BMX competition.
She was also performing an ambassadorial role for the government.
Miss Smith said: “I was asked to perform that role and was happy to do so and I was glad to be able to be part of the Olympics.
“It was helping to receive guests. I think a number of ministers and MPs were asked to do this and I think it was positive to have parliament included in the Olympics.”
Ms Coffey’s parliamentary office said it appeared she was the only MP to declare her attendance at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony, but there were others there.
They added the 100m final did not need to be declared on the MPs’ register as it was “under the limit”.
MPs are required to register gifts, benefits and hospitality valued at more than 1pc of their annual parliamentary salary, which equates to £660, from the same source in the course of a calendar year.
Ms Coffey declined to comment further on the tickets she received when contacted by the EDP.
In total, the government purchased 8,641 tickets for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games at a cost of £1.17m.
There were 10.99m tickets sold for both competitions.