Bid To Release Details Of Govt's £864k Wines

Former Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson has written to the > Prime Minister

asking him to reverse a decision that will keep the full list of the wines secret.

In June it emerged £18,000 had been spent on boosting the collection since the General Election.

> The Government Hospitality Advisory Committee

, a body connected to the > Foreign Office

, has published information about some of the wines but refused to reveal their vintages for commercial reasons.

Giving away further details could prevent the Government from buying cut-price bottles from suppliers and cause "undue influence" on the market, it said.

Mr Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, has appealed to Mr Cameron after the Foreign Office told him it did not have time to reply to his Freedom of Information request within the 20-day time limit.

"In a recent Parliamentary answer Henry Bellingham admitted the Foreign Office has spent over £18,000 replenishing the collection," > Mr Watson wrote


"In the current climate of cuts, I do not think it unreasonable to allow public scrutiny of this decision."

His letter continued: "You say we live in the new age of transparency. Yesterday you overruled the Department for Health [with regards to scrapping milk in schools].

"If you mean what you say, today you will overrule the Foreign Office.

"All I ask is that the public are allowed to know the contents of the ministerial wine cellar."

Mr Watson has suggested the whole collection be auctioned off to raise funds.

Source :

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