BBC business editor Robert Peston revealed why he prefers bankers to MPs at a ‘cash for questions’ event organised by the Journalists’ Charity.
Some 150 journalists attended a reception at the House of Commons and paid £10 to have their questions answered by a panel comprising Peston, former Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell and Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Alan Duncan MP.
Hilary Genin asked Peston: “Having experience of both, who are the worst: MPs or bankers?”
Peston replied: “An MP normally suggests lunch and also suggests the restaurant he would like to go to. If he is there before you, he has already chosen the most expensive wine.
“Even if it was his suggestion, only one MP in 100 would offer to pay for it … and only one in 100 would send you a thank you note.
“Most bankers would invite you to lunch, pay for it and then thank you afterwards for your time. I would say MPs!”
Ray Massey from the Daily Mail asked the panel: “If you could have anything [like today’s published expenses] from your past blacked out, what would you choose?
Campbell responded: “I don’t talk to the Daily Mail….I will answer that question as long as anyone who has worked for Paul Dacre [editor] doesn’t benefit from the money raised.” He then added: “My university education, probably…”
Duncan chipped in: “I love Paul Dacre…there’s an election coming up!”
Peston said: “I don’t know, I lead a boring life… I work, I go home…If anyone can find anything interesting about me will they please let me know.”
Sharon Collins asked the panel: “In a Hollywood film of your life, who would play you”.
Duncan suggested: “Ronnie Corbett with a bloody good facelift.”
The event was hosted by Anna Botting from Sky News and raised £420 for the Journalists’ Charity.