ENTERTAINMENT, alcohol and betting firms have spent thousands of pounds this year providing hospitality to MPs.

Among those to enjoy freebies were Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison, who went to the Brits courtesy of BPI, Kevin Hollinrake, who attended sporting events in St Andrews and at the Oval, Nigel Adams, who secured tickets to Euros matches during the summer and Richard Holden who had a night at the Mercury Awards.

Under parliamentary rules, MPs are free to accept hospitality and overseas visits at their own discretion, provided all are declared on the appropriate parliamentary registers.

The declarations have been made in line with parliamentary rules and are published on the register of members’ financial interests.

MPs’ earnings and second jobs are under intense scrutiny after it emerged Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Cox earned about £900,000 last year through his work as a lawyer.

The former attorney general has denied breaking any rules, and there are no suggestions any politicians in our region have done so either, but it has thrust the issue of MPs finances back in the spotlight. 

As a result, The Northern Echo is lifting the lid on where MPs in our region get their money. We traced the cash trail using the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, with some surprising results.

Mr Adams, the MP for Selby and Ainsty, received more than £8,000 worth of hospitality during June and July. The Betting and Gaming Council, which provided hospitality for a nunber of MPs, donated a ticket to attend a Euro match on June 18, to the value of £1,999.14, when England played Scotland in the group stages.

This was following by a ticket and hospitality worth £1,961 to attend the match on June 29, when England played Germany, which was donated by Power Leisure Bookmakers.

Entain Holdings UK, the Gibraltar-based sports betting company that owns Ladbrokes, donated a ticket and hospitality, with a value of £3,457 for the semi-final match on July 7. And Heineken UK donated a ticket and hospitality worth £620 for the final on July 11.

He was not the only MP to attend a football match courtesy of The Betting and Gaming Council. Sharon Hodgson, the Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West was given a ticket for the semi-final on July 7, with hospitality valued at £3,457

Stockton South MP Matt Vickers received hospitality worth £400 from Hartlepool United when he attended a match on June 20, when the club was playing Torquay United in Bristol.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews gave Mr Hollinrake, who is a member of the all party parliamentary group for golf, a ticket with hospitality to watch the Open on July 18, with a value of £350.

The Thirsk and Malton MP was also given hospitality worth £500 got a test match at the Oval on September 2, by London City Airport.

Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, was given honorary membership for life of the Carlton Club, which he had registered as an interest in January 2018. The exclusive London club is members-only was founded in 1832 as the original home of the Conservative Party.

Three Labour MPs declared gifts, benefits and hospitality from Unite the union, which paid for hotel stays during their party conference. Easington MP Grahame Morris declared £2,070 for five nights, Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald received £1,176 for four nights in hotel and Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, declared a three-night stay, valued at £882.

Meanwhile Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah received a ticket to the Brits worth £900.

MPs are required to register all gifts, benefits or hospitality with a value of more than £300 which they receive from a source within the UK.

All MPs were contacted for comment.