Alex Salmond has today rejected criticism of his spending during his visit to the Ryder Cup after it was revealed that he is yet to account for more than £50,000 spent during the trip.
The First Minister reacted strongly to the questioning from Labour leader Johann Lamont but refused to answer outright where the money had been spent, calling the criticism ‘ridiculous frippery’ and reiterating the investment made to Scottish industry following the trip.
The details of the Ryder Cup delegation’s spending first came to light as the result of a Daily Telegraph investigation which found that they had racked up a bill of £468,580 during a week-long trip to the golf tournament. The Telegraph published details last month of how £414,000 was spent, including nearly £1,000 on a pianist, but the remaining £54,000 is yet to be accounted for.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Salmond said: “The reason this government is in office is because we focus on the things that matter to the people of Scotland, jobs and growth, not this ridiculous frippery.”
Speaking afterwards, Mrs Lamont said: “Alex Salmond cannot tell us why he chose to stay in a five-star luxury hotel at the taxpayers’ expense in Chicago rather than the one Scottish government officials were staying in.
“Alex Salmond cannot account for how thousands of pounds of public money was spent. The people of Scotland won’t see asking him to account as ‘ridiculous frippery’ – but they will fear that thousands of their money was spent by Alex Salmond on ridiculous fripperies”.