The true gifts of education

27th February 2004 at 00:00
Join the Conservative party, become an education spokesman and travel the world, fly by Concorde, stay in glamorous hotels and give speeches to golfers.

These are some of the perks and money-spinning ventures the Tories' two leading education spokemen have revealed in the latest register of MPs' interests.

One of the longest lists belongs to Tim Yeo, the shadow education secretary and Conservative MP for South Suffolk. As well as directorships for the cattle semen supplier Genus and the care-home company Univent, he was paid for articles in Golf Weekly magazine and a speech to the Association of Golf Club Secretaries.

Mr Yeo also enjoyed a trip to Morocco, courtesy of Wentworth Travel and stayed in Marrakesh's internationally-renowned La Mamounia Hotel - a favourite with such celebrities as Elton John and Angelina Jolie.

Tim Collins, his fellow education spokesman, received a few glamorous freebies, including one of the last flights on Concorde and a seat at a charity dinner held by Sir Cliff Richard at Hampton Court Palace.

Labour's education ministers appear to have enjoyed far fewer treats.

Education Secretary Charles Clarke and ministers Stephen Twigg, Ivan Lewis and Alan Johnson all have nothing to declare, while David Miliband only notes a 20 per cent share in a house in London.

Children's minister Margaret Hodge declares shares in Stemcor Holdings, a London-based steel trading company. She is believed to earn more than pound;101,000 a year from dividends.

Valuable gifts presented to members of the Commons education select committee include a badge providing free access to race course meetings. It was given to Jeff Ennis, Labour MP for Barnsley East, because he is also joint chair of the All-Party Racing and Bloodstock Group.

And those looking for property on the Isle of Wight might consider contacting Conservative MP Andrew Turner. Mr Turner notes that he owns a one-bedroom flat in Cowes, "pending sale".

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