Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Prescott hits out over card claims

Lord Prescott says a government credit card must have been 'cloned'

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has blamed a "cloned" government credit card for apparently excessive spending by his officials.

The Labour peer said fraud was the "only explanation" for some examples that had emerged, and called on the Cabinet Secretary to investigate.

The comments came after records suggested that staff in his department used cards to spend more than £15,000 in bars, restaurants and cafes over two years.

A bill for £456 was run up at an Australian casino in 2004 when the then-Cabinet minister was visiting to review the country's gambling laws.

Speaking to the Hull Daily Mail, Lord Prescott stressed that he had never personally held a government procurement card.

He highlighted payments such as £2,000 on the same day from a camera shop in China and £360 at two golf clubs in Kent.

"I have got no idea about particular entries," he said.

"You would certainly remember anyone buying £2,000 worth of camera gear but it's news to me.

"The same thing with the golf - I don't even play bloody golf.

"It has been established some cards were cloned and that is the only explanation for some of the things on here."

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