Mayor of London Boris Johnson's trip to Iraq last year left the Foreign Office staff picking up a hotel bar tab, officials blocking his request for a visit to the front-line and Johnson driving a sports car out of a showroom, correspondence has revealed.
The correspondence, released under freedom of information laws, show the difficulties officials faced in handling the London mayor's demands during a diplomatic trip to the Middle Eastern country.
The exchanges reveal that subsequent to the trip, the Foreign Office had to chase City Hall for the money for the bar tab, despite the mayor's office being told the bill should be settled in cash.
"There are some costs relating to alcohol purchases at the [redacted] that we might have to charge to the Mayor’s office. Clear instructions were giving to the party that purchases of alcoholic drinks must be paid in cash and not charged to rooms," the email read.
Another email reveals that "the visiting mayor said he would like to visit the "front line". I explained that was not possible, we never went etc. He is not satisfied."
And in other exchanges, deputy mayor Sir Edward Lister wrote that Johnson was “keen to … do some sightseeing”, while the UK’s consul-general in Kurdistan and northern Iraq Angus McKee also wrote:
"In case anyone gets alarmed by the attached article, while it is true that the Mayor got behind the wheel of a [redacted] in the showroom, drove out of the door & onto the driveway, quick action by his PPO and me ensured he did NOT drive off."
Just the sort of behaviour you'd expect from a man speculated to have his eyes on Number 10...
However, a spokesman for the mayor said he had “always intended to settle what was a private drinks bill but an administrative oversight meant that the bill was not settled on his departure. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office brought this to the attention of the mayor’s office soon afterwards and the mayor personally paid the bill immediately”.