Ken Livingstone's Love Of Fine Dining

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 105 months ago
Ken Livingstone's Love Of Fine Dining

Image by Roxy London
Let's hope he's proud at being a champagne socialist: former Mayor Ken Livingstone's expenses for his second term at City Hall reveal that he claimed for more than £16,000 in dining bills. According to the Standard (who should really be well versed in Ken's culinary habits, seeing as he used to be their restaurant critic), bills of over £1,000 were not uncommon, with some of the city's glammest eateries benefitting from Mr. Livingstone's largesse. None of the expense claims, naturally, were actually against the law.

Were he still able to dine out on the taxpayer's dime, Ken might have cause to mourn the closure of Tatsuo. The Japanese restaurant, reputedly the most expensive in London, is being forced to shut up shop after accruing liabilities of more than £338,000. Formerly popular with big-hitters in the banking and finance world, the seismic shocks of the last eight months have effectively killed off a large part of their customer base.

Last Updated 08 July 2009


Far be it from me that I should defend Ken, but I guess there's a first time for everything...

This story doesn't really hold much water. £16,000 does sound like a lot to splash on "fine dining", but over a 4 year period (which is the period that the ES have based their story around), this actually equates to less than £80 per week. Sure, that's not eating on the poverty-line, but it's not exactly extravagant either.

As for the "£1000 a time" restaurant expenses, Ken would hardly have been able to make a regular habit of this if he only managed to total £16,000 over four years. Of course the ES helpfully fails to mention whether these bills represented his sole dining pleasure (read super-expensive wines, or Mr Creosote-style gluttony) or whether he was entertaining a group.