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30,000 kronor for Stockholm Social Democrat dinner

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10:34 CEST+02:00
The dining habits of Sweden's leading Social Democrats have come under the spotlight after a dinner hosted by Stockholm's mayor left taxpayers with a hefty bill in May, Svenska Dagbladet reported on Wednesday.

A private boat ride to the luxurious Sturehof manor house for Stockholm Mayor Annika Billström and 10 others, a three-course dinner with wine, avecs, spirits or liquor with coffee, and a chartered bus ride back to town on May 4th set taxpayers back nearly 30,000 kronor.

"Of course it is nice to go on a boat during the summer," said Martin Nilsson a Social Democrat Parliament member from Jönkoping.

"It was just an attempt to make it more socially relaxed and to get your message across better."

Stockholm council rules state that on any dining bill the meeting's purpose has to be described, reported Svenska Dagbladet. This bill only says "meet board S-parliament group".

The group claims to have discussed the city's car congestion tax and the building of flats.

Stockholm's auditor Gunnar Björkman said the city has an no-alcohol policy that prohibits taxpayer money being spent on booze.

"It is of course taxpayer's money we are talking about," he said. "If it is a political activity, then it is the party that should pay. This sounds like something that should be looked at more closely."

Social Democrats received 11 million kronor in support this year. But Stockholm councillor Bosse Sundling doesn't think the party should pay, saying it was he who arranged the dinner, not Billström.

Sundling said he simply forgot to properly sign the bill and doesn't remember avecs being on the bill at the end of the night.

"I honestly don't remember what it (the bill) had on it," he told SvD, adding that there was nothing special about the dinner.

"It is clear that if the Social Democratic Parliament group leadership are to get an understanding of Stockholm's important political questions there is naturally a point," Sundling said.

Picture on previous page: Sturehofs Slott

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