More than 100 MPs including senior ministers and Labour frontbenchers have enjoyed lavish freebies paid for by businesses this summer.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer are among those to have accepted tickets to events including rock concerts, horse racing and the Chelsea Flower Show.
Among those opening their wallets were banks and oil companies, the register of MPs interests shows. In total the gifts accepted since May were worth more than £180,000.
MPs have to declare any hospitality they receive that is worth more than £300 within 28 days of receiving it, and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing.
But they were criticised for accepting freebies while voters struggle with a cost-of-living crisis.
Among those identified by a Guardian analysis were:
- Jeremy Hunt was taken to Chelsea Flower Show gala dinner by Lloyds Banking Group with tickets worth more than £600. The Chancellor also received opera tickets worth almost £600 from the Royal Opera House.
- Oliver Dowden accepted almost £5,000 of hospitality including tickets to the opera, hose racing at Ascot, the Chelsea Flower Show and the British Grand Prix.
- Sir Keir Starmer received four tickets worth £698 to see Coldplay at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium from promoter SJM Concerts and a box at the Epsom Derby worth £3,716, from the Jockey Club
- Minister for London Paul Scully received two tickets worth £1,560 for Wimbledon and two worth £1,100 to a Billy Joel concert in Hyde Park from the Betting and Gaming Council.
- Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting was given two tickets and accommodation worth £1,050 at the Hay Festival by Sky.
- At least 18 MPs accepted tickets to the Glastonbury Festival, where Elton John was among the headliners. Tickets for five, including Work and Pensions Minister Laura Trott and shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds, were paid for by Google.
Alex Beatty, from Spotlight on Corruption, told the Guardian: ‘With the UK in the grip of a cost of living crisis and at a time of declining trust in our politicians, it is both disappointing and concerning to see this sharp increase in the value of hospitality accepted by MPs.
‘Hospitality enables private interests with the deepest pockets to access and potentially influence MPs and ministers. This can undermine the quality and integrity of decision-making away from the public interest and towards whichever company forked out for the strawberries and cream.’