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Labour's Champagne taunt at Tories

A bottle of champagne signed by Margaret Thatcher sold for £45,000 at the Tory Party summer ball last night, Parliament has heard.

Commons Leader Andrew Lansley said the bottle was "not bought for drinking purposes" but revealed it was signed by the former prime minister after his Labour shadow Angela Eagle said she was told it sold for £45,000.

Ms Eagle said the Government is "living in a parallel universe" with one million more people falling into absolute poverty in the last two years and future spending cuts likely to fall on the poor.

During the business question in the Commons, Ms Eagle said : "This Government are living in a parallel universe.

"The Chancellor (George Osborne) claimed that we're all in this together but Government figures show that in the last two years one million more people fell into absolute poverty.

"Lord Finkelstein, Tory peer and one of the Chancellor's closest confidants, let the cat out of the bag recently when he said that future Tory cuts will 'undoubtedly fall on poor people'.

"Do you agree with him and will you tell me if Lord Finkelstein was present last night at the Tory summer ball where I'm told a bottle of champagne was auctioned for £45,000?"

Mr Lansley replied: "I did have the pleasure of going to the summer party last night. I didn't see my noble friend Danny Finkelstein.

"I did not buy the champagne, which was not bought for drinking purposes, I think it was bought because it was signed by Margaret Thatcher.

"So I have to tell you that the highlight of the evening was not the auction, the highlight of the evening was a speech by the Prime Minister where he illustrated the positive achievements of this coalition Government and the increasing likelihood of a Conservative victory at the next general election."

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