Foreign Office spends almost £2,000 in Norwich City club shop, says MP’s letter

The UK Foreign Office spent almost £2,000 in Norwich City’s club shop.

That's according to Emily Thornberry, Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, who posted an open letter addressed to the government, with one of the claims being that sector, headed by James Cleverly, had spent thousands in the shop of the Championship side.

The politician posted on Twitter an attachment of the letter, along with the caption: “How did the Foreign Office manage to spend £4,333.30 on two trips to the hairdresser? Why has their spending via government procurement cards shot up 45% since last September? And why won’t they answer these and dozens more related questions? Read all about it in my letter.”

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The message is addressed to Gillian Keegan, the MP of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Some of it read: “My purpose in writing to you today is to set out why I believe it is in the public interest for you to answer the questions I have raised, and to give you a second opportunity to do so by way of a ministerial letter, without the cost constraints that may arise in relation to answering Parliamentary Questions, or indeed Freedom of Information requests.

“As of 31 March this year. 4.446 government procurement cards were in circulation to make purchases against the FCDO's departmental budget, held both by individuals based in the UK, and at our posts around the world. In terms of the number of card holders, and the value of purchases made on them, the FCDO is currently second only to the Ministry of Defence.

“While the amount of FCDO expenditure using the cards has remained relatively stable in recent years (£24.0lm in 2019, £23.37m in 2020, £23.42m in 2021), and apparently unaffected by the pandemic, there has been a notable change in that pattern in recent months.”

And underneath, Thornberry attached a list of various points of expenditure, with one being the Canaries’ club shop. She asked: “For what purpose were payments made to the official Norwich City Football Club online store of (a) 1,318 on 21 Oct 2021, and (b) 523.50 on 21 Mar 2022?” 

The full amount totals a cool £1841, which is about the same as buying 33 replica Norwich home shirts, priced at £55.

Some of the tweets in response have come up with their own theory – one of which involves prime minister Liz Truss.

A user wrote: “£1841 of taxpayers money spent at the Norwich City online club store, by a department which at the time was run by a certain Liz Truss, MP for South Norfolk and supporter of…Norwich City.”

Another user said: “Why did the foreign office (@trussliz ) was in charge of, spend £2000 of our money at Norwich fc? She’s the MP in that area too.”

A third wrote: “As Foreign Secretary, our now-PM Liz Truss spent close to £2,000 of Taxpayers money to go and watch Norwich last season. Lose lose situation. Public purse was misused and she got to watch sh** football.”

Truss is an ardent football fan and has been pictured before at Carrow Road, leading to the speculation.

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