A wealth of lunch dates for councillors
There's a new contender for councillor declaring most 'gifts and hospitality', but business and culture chief - with some rich and powerful friends - remains the champion
01 September, 2017
Cllr Jonathan Glanz
IN a straight competition of which councillor has declared the most “gifts and hospitality”, Westminster Council’s business and culture chief Robert Davis OBE DL is supreme champion.
But he is facing a new challenger in West End ward’s Cllr Jonathan Glanz who in June and July alone declared 20 appointments – mainly breakfasts, lunches, receptions and dinners – with a handful of property investors, PR agencies and some colleagues on the council.
Councillors are obliged every month to update the register, which is published on the council’s website.
Diary is in no doubt that the councillors who declare their freebies and one-to-one meetings should be commended for showing personal integrity and commitment to transparency and democratic accountability.
Cllr Robert Davis
But the register can at times make entertaining, often insightful reading.
Deputy leader Cllr Davis clearly has some rich and powerful friends, for example Sir George Iacobescu – the only Romanian to be given a knighthood in this country as the chief executive of Canary Wharf – who he was “entertained for supper” by on June 6.
The following week, Cllr Davis lunched at Harry’s Bar with businessman Stelio Stefanou OBE – reportedly with a net worth of £140million.
Four days later he lunched with the property investor Mark Pennick in Raoul’s Maida Vale.
On June 19, Cllr Davis took a trip to Gleneagles golf resort, Auchterarder, Perthshire, where he declared “flight, hotel and food”.
On June 21 there was lunch at The German Gym, King’s Cross, with the Abbey Road councillor Peter Freeman – and the next day lunch again, at The Ivy, with one Larry Hightower.
Cllr Nickie Aiken
On June 27 there was lunch at the Delaunay in Covent Garden with gambling website entrepreneur, Noel Hayden – also a regular on the annual rich lists.
Two days later Cllr Davis lunched at the Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall with Gieves & Hawkes executive, Ray Clacher, where he received the “gift of a book”.
Later that day he made his way down to Westminster Abbey that evening for a formal dinner “in the presence of The Princess Royal”.
On July 1, Cllr Davis enjoyed lunch at his home in Cirencester with Michael Kadoorie, reportedly the sixth wealthiest person in Hong Kong, before breakfast at Fortnum & Mason with Travelex currency exchange philanthropist Lloyd Dorfman.
And – purely coincidentally – a week later, Cllr Davis ate breakfast with Cllr Glanz, at the popular Café Valerie in Marylebone.
What the councillors discussed over the brioche and butter one can only speculate.
What would council leader Nickie Aiken make of all this Diary wonders? She has declared just a handful of events in the past two years, including two tickets to Wimbledon on July 6, courtesy of Edwardian Hotels, and subsidised tickets to the Taylor Swift concert in Hyde Park in 2015.