Labour has asked the government to explain what it considers to be “unusual” Foreign Office (FCDO) spending during Liz Truss’s time as head of the department.
Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry has written to the foreign minister Gillian Keegan seeking clarification about why thousands of pounds were spent on costs including wellness and beauty treatments.
During the prime minister’s time as foreign secretary, the FCDO spent £1,841 at Norwich City club shop and £4,333.30 at a “barber and beauty shop”.
Earlier this year, Ms Truss admitted that she was a Norwich City fan. “They’re a fine family club, what can I say?” she told Conservative members in Leeds.
Ms Thornberry also questioned the spending of around £10,000 at Fortnum & Mason and purchases made at multiple vineyards, a number of curry houses and The White Company and furniture stores.
Referring to the unexplained costs, Ms Thornberry tweeted: “How did the Foreign Office manage to spend £4,333.30 on two trips to the hairdresser?”
Her latest letter to the FCDO came after the department told her that the information she sought was “not readily available” or would infer a “disproportionate cost”. Labour disputes both of these claims.
The Labour frontbencher argued in her most recent letter that the public expects “proper checks” when there are indications of “unusual or excessive spending in any corner of government”.
Ms Thornberry also demanded to know why the FCDO’s spending on government procurement cards had shot up by 45 per cent since last September.
Annual spending on cards did not exceed £24.01m between 2019 and 2021. However, if current monthly averages for 2022 continue, this year’s costs will exceed £35 million, according to Ms Thornberry.
The Independent has approached the FCDO for comment.