Sitting down with Bullingdon Club contemporaries David Cameron and Boris Johnson, the three top Tories were caught on camera flanked by half a dozen aides and security officers eating out at a cosy restaurant in Davos just hours before today’s gloomy economic news.
Greenpeace activist Ben Stewart managed to snap the trio tucking into pizza and fondue at the Alte Post Hotel in the alpine resort during the World Economic Forum.
Mr Stewart, who was in Switzerland to protest against Shell’s plans for Arctic drilling, posted images of the happy diners “laughing uproariously” and enjoying banter during the meal on Twitter.
“It was really jovial. Cameron was holding forth in the middle and seemed to be taking the piss out of Boris who was defending himself in that rumbumptious way he has,” he said.
Mr Osborne “had a face like he had swallowed a wasp” when he challenged him over an impending triple dip recession during a visit to the toilet, he added.
Whilst cheaper than the five star redoubts favoured by plutocrats and the global business chiefs who descend on the resort for the annual capitalist jamboree, the stone-built hotel, bar and restaurant occupying the site of the village’s 17th century former post house, is described as intimate and discreet.
The out of the way spot has previously hosted Angelina Jolie and Bono among others. The most basic item on the menu is a Margherite Pizza at £22 with the most expensive is a 300g veal chop in herb butter served with grilled vegetables at £35.
Mr Johnson dismissed speculation of an impending “pepperoni-gate” by revealing that he had chosen the fondue not the pizza and described the setting for what he said was an alcohol-free meal as an “average alpine restaurant”.
“No taxpayers’ money was involved. I can’t speak for the rest of them – the sponge of amnesia has wiped the memory clean,” said the London Mayor who was discussing his speech urging for an end to austerity rhetoric in favour of growth.
However it is not clear whether Mr Johnson opted for the £26 house fondue (fontal, gruyere and bergkase) or the fiscally more expansive Madagaskar (corr) cheese dip which included green peppercorns for an additional three pounds.
Labour sought to exploit the potential embarrassment of the situation. Damien McBride, who was a close aide to Gordon Brown at the Treasury and in 10 Downing Street, demanded: “What on God’s Green Earth was Osborne doing eating pizza in Davos when he knew GDP was back in negative territory?”
But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “The Prime Minister and Chancellor have been in Davos banging the drum for British business, entirely consistent with the case we have been making that this is a global race, and also making the case for the kind of open, free-trade global economy which the Prime Minister was talking about in his speech today and which is so important to outward-looking economies such as the UK’s.”
Top Tories enjoy jovial Davos fondue night out just hours before Britain receives … – The Independent
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