Then First Minister said it was ‘an honour to represent Scotland’ at the state funeral along with the other Holyrood party leaders, although they didn’t charge the taxpayers for the cost
By Democrat reporter
Nicola Sturgeon stayed in a £1,000 hotel suite in London on the night before the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The lavish cost of the accommodation on Sunday, September 18, 2022 was charged to taxpayers.
The Scottish Daily Express is reporting that the former first minister also spent £1,000 for a hotel in the UK capital on Tuesday, September 13 – the same day that Her Majesty’s coffin was flown south from Edinburgh as the monarch left Scotland for the final time.
In addition, Ms Sturgeon flew to London on Friday, September 9 – the day after the Queen passed away at Balmoral – and spent £675 on a hotel room. Her six flights cost taxpayers some £1,657.
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain also stayed in London on both September 9 and September 18, although her hotel bill was slightly less expensive at £898.80 per night. Her flights and return rail tickets cost £1,095.
Ms Sturgeon said it was an “honour to represent Scotland” at the funeral. She was joined by her husband, then SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, although it is not known if the party picked up a share of the hotel bill.
Other Scottish party leaders were also in attendance, including Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar, Alex Cole-Hamilton and Lorna Slater. However, it is understood their costs were met by their parties rather than the taxpayer.
The expensive cost of accommodation was possibly a result of London hotels pushing up their prices by as much as 30 per cent in the days before the funeral, as hundreds of thousands of people arrived to pay their respects to the late monarch.
The surge in hotel costs also caught out a number of world leaders. For example, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie were criticised after it emerged they had stayed in a $6,000 (£3,500) a night suite at the Corinthia London hotel.
In total, Scottish Government ministers spent £14,784 on London hotels in 2022, with Ms Sturgeon charging the public purse for 10 nights in the UK capital at a total cost of £6,117.
Ms Bain’s London hotel costs ran to £5,868, including an eight night stay in October during the UK Supreme Court case where she argued for the SNP administration’s right to hold a Scexit referendum.
The cheapest stay was a £93 bill for Mairi McAllan to stay for one night in an unidentified hotel in King’s Cross in November 2022.
By contrast, Angela Constance spent two nights in the Doubletree by Hilton at a cost of £578. And Kate Forbes enjoyed a night at Hilton’s boutique Trafalgar St James hotel for the knockdown price of £135.
And Angus Robertson – dubbed Air Miles Angus due to his taxpayer-funded travels – had two nights in a hotel in the trendy Southwark district for £587.
In June, Ms Sturgeon spent three nights at the London Marriott County Hall for a total cost of £1,983.99. Leaving a five-star review on TripAdvisor, one fellow guest wrote: “We enjoyed scrumptious food together with a spectacular view of Big Ben and the Parliament buildings.
“We even saw First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon enjoying her breakfast! All the staff from check in to bellman to doorman were attentive and just did an excellent job. Highly recommend this hotel for an upmarket London stay.”
|Nicola Sturgeon||6/2/22||London Marriot County Hall||3||£1,983.99|
|Kate Forbes||2/2/22||The Trafalgar St. James, 2 Spring Gardens||1||£135.00|
|Kate Forbes||6/14/22||Mercure London Paddington, London||1||£195.00|
|Angela Constance||5/18/22||Doubletree by Hilton London||2||£578.00|
|Angus Robertson||11/16/22||London – Southwark||2||£586.72|
|Patrick Harvie||10/7/22||Premier Inn Hub, London Kings Cross||1||£178.96|
|Mairi McAllan||11/13/22||London – Kings Cross||1||£93.00|