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Home News What Liz Truss’ most recent error reveals about filth and greed in the case of the missing bathrobes

What Liz Truss’ most recent error reveals about filth and greed in the case of the missing bathrobes

Photo by Accuray on Unsplash

Truss, the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history, may not know how to govern, but she certainly knows how to holiday. The former Tory leader is disputing part of a £12,000 bill relating to summer parties held at Chevening when she was foreign secretary.

Most of the bill relates to hospitality, but charges for some missing items are raising eyebrows. It seems someone in Truss’s circle made off with bathrobes worth about £120. Slippers were also pilfered. While I am sure it’s completely unrelated, the Guardian reported last year that traces of a white powder suspected to be cocaine were found at Chevening in the days before Truss became prime minister. I am not saying that Truss held cocaine-fuelled raves where people danced around in misappropriated bathrobes, I am just saying that when you put all these facts together this is the sort of imagery that comes to mind.

I don’t want to be sanctimonious about the bathrobes, because whenever I stay in a nice hotel I pocket all the freebies I can. The miniature toiletries are going in the suitcase, obviously. On more than one occasion, I have taken home all the teabags. If there is a pen in the room, I am keeping it – you can never have enough pens. Over the years, I have probably saved at least £9 by looting hotels. I have never stolen a bathrobe, but I have always assumed slippers were meant to be taken.

Ultimately, though, this isn’t about a couple of bathrobes, is it? It’s about a grubbiness and greed that has become entrenched in politics. It’s about the fact that, according to openDemocracy, MPs and peers have claimed almost £180m in expenses in just three years. In one case, openDemocracy notes, the Conservative MP Iain Stewart, a self-proclaimed train enthusiast whose Milton Keynes South constituency is only 35 minutes from London, “claimed £52,000 on London hotels instead of catching the train”.

This isn’t about bathrobes: it’s about the fact that far too many people seem to view public service as a route to private wealth.

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