Theresa May’s tea-at-the-Ritz ‘simples’ bet is another kick in the face for Britain

Theresa May and Ritz tea
Support us and go ad-free

At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 26 February, Theresa May told SNP’s Ian Blackford that: “He should vote for a deal – simples”, using a well-known advertising catchphrase. But it turns out she did this so her aide could win a bet. The prize was tea at the Ritz. It’s yet another Tory kick in the face.

‘Simples’

On 2 March, the Mail on Sunday reported that:

Seema Kennedy, Mrs May’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, had a wager with Tory MP Simon Hoare that she could get her boss to say the word [simples]. Tea at The Ritz costs £58 – or £77 with a glass of bubbly.

Not surprisingly, this news has caused shock and outrage. With less than a month to go, and no Brexit deal on the table, May’s original line left many MPs “stunned”:

But now, we know she did this for a bet. So it really does show just how totally out of touch May and her government truly are.

Out of touch

For a start, it poses a very serious question about whether this bet breaches parliamentary procedure:

And as the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon pointed out, the timing of their “jolly japes” is also deeply concerning:

But just as importantly, the price of a champagne tea at the Ritz is more than 1.36 million people living on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) have to survive on for an entire week.

Overall, this bet shows absolutely no awareness of the millions of people struggling under austerity, the soaring foodbank use, or the UK’s rising homelessness crisis:

Twisted timing

The timing of this bet truly does lift the lid on Conservative policy. Because it came in the same week that data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that inequality in the UK is rising. As the Big Issue reported, “the gap between the richest and the poorest widened”, and “the benefits freeze is to blame”. The report found that:

The richest fifth of the population saw average income increase by 4.7 per cent for the financial year ending in 2018 while it contracted by 1.6 per cent for the poorest.

Winning tea at the Ritz also came in a week when a separate ONS report found that more homeless people died in deprived areas. In fact, the rate is “nine times higher in poor areas than rich areas”.

And yet Kennedy, Hoare and May got involved in a bet for tea at the Ritz. As well as showing that they don’t have a clue, this reveals just how twisted and cruel this government truly is.

Featured images via Fot. P. Tracz Kancelaria Premiera/Wikimedia and finedining indian/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us