Government claims austerity while stocking up its £864,00 wine cellar
Since February Tom Watson, the former labour defence minister has been demanding The Foreign and Commonwealth Office reveals full details of it's wine cellar, including the cost of bottles being purchased.
Watson has so far discovered that almost £18,000 has been spent topping up the reserves since 12 May alone, bringing the total value of goods held to £864,000. Although the total value is known, Watson is seeking clarification on whether the cellars are being filled with cheap bottles, or fewer more expensive vintages.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is citing the coming visit of the pope to strengthen its ongoing opposition to disclosing the contents it's wine cellar.
The FCO has so far resisted the call to disclose the cost of specific vintages bought by its hospitality department, citing commercial confidentiality and the need for the department to maintain relations with its suppliers.
The Protocol Directorate within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office wrote that it is considering in detail the public interest tests relating to your review and the other points you raised in your response. However, due to leave arrangements over the summer, and detailed preparations for the visit to Britain by his holiness the pope, it is most unlikely that the deputy director of protocol will be able to write to you before the end of August.
The government has confirmed it has the information in digital form.