UK Politics

Louise Mensch defends free MP Olympics tickets

Usain Bolt winning 100m final in Beijing 2008
Image caption The men's 100m final is one of the most high profile events of the games.

An MP has defended the decision of some of her colleagues to accept free tickets to the men's Olympics 100m final.

Louise Mensch, a member of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, said she had been offered a ticket but declined it.

But she said she didn't see a problem with other members of the committee accepting free tickets.

The Daily Mail reported four committee members, including its chair, accepted tickets from Olympics sponsor BT.

The newspaper said committee members had been invited by the company to attend a briefing on its role in delivering the games, followed by a visit to the Olympic stadium to watch one of the most high profile events.

Ms Mensch told BBC Radio 4's Today programme she was offered tickets and "decided not to go".

But, she continued: "I don't see any problem, especially with people who have been sitting on an Olympic delivery inquiry going to the games and watching how one of the key events is delivered.

"I can't say I am massively exercised by my colleagues taking it up."

Other members of the committee who are thought to have declined a ticket include Labour's Tom Watson.

Committee chair John Whittingdale and Conservative MP Philip Davies are said to have accepted the tickets.

Mr Whittingdale told the Daily Mail: "BT are having a briefing on their involvement in the Olympics. My committee has spent five years having regular sessions on the preparations for the Olympics. It's not terribly surprising that we might have wanted to go and have a look.

"This is not the first time I've been to events with BT or companies that operate in the area that we scrutinise. But they are a major sponsor of the Olympics and have put a huge amount of money into the games.

"It would be utterly extraordinary if we didn't take a look at the games. I don't see that this compromises the committee at all."

More on this story