ERIC Pickles has poked fun at George Osborne by tweeting a picture of himself working on a speech and eating a takeaway.
The picture was redolent of one posted the night before the Chancellor delivered the Spending Review speech, which showed Osborne poring over his speech, with a burger and cans of Diet Coke next to him.
In Pickles’ photo - captioned ‘Putting final touches to the LGA speech’ - the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government can be seen sitting at a desk with a salad and some notes - a tongue-in-cheek reference perhaps to Osborne’s tribute yesterday, where he described Pickles as ‘the model of lean government’ after reducing the size of his government department.
The Communities Secretary has reduced the size of his department by 60 per cent, and has got rid of more than 10 quangos.
Osborne retweeted the picture, adding ‘Nice one Eric’ on his own Twitter feed.
Meanwhile, the Chancellor has defended his choice of late-night meal, after it transpired that he had spent nearly £10 on a gourmet burger and fries from restaurant chain Byron, adding: “McDonalds doesn’t deliver.”
Osborne, who admitted he was “partial to a quarter-pounder with cheese”, told ITV’s Daybreak programme: “Well, McDonald’s doesn’t deliver. I was working late in the office.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg revealed he is also a fan of Byron burgers, praising their Oreo milkshakes during his weekly radio phone-in on London’s LBC radio station.
A “Classic” Byron 6oz hamburger with lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayonnaise costs £6.75, with fries an extra £2.95. If cheese is added, the price of the burger rises to £7.95.
Mr Osborne ordered the meal from a Byron branch in Waterloo, more than a mile away from Whitehall, with 10 McDonald’s outlets - where burgers start at 99p - closer, the Sun reported.
A Byron spokesman confirmed earlier today that the chain does not deliver.
Osborne said Twitter posed problems for politicians who wanted to give a greater insight into their work.
He told the programme: “As a politician you’ve got this dilemma, which is the only thing people see of you is you’re in the House of Commons, in a TV studio.
“The point about Twitter is to try and tell people more about what you’re doing every day, and there I am working late on my speech, and I’ve got a takeaway hamburger, but it puts you on the front page of the Sun. It’s an occupational hazard.”
Osborne’s picture was retweeted 193 times by other Twitter users, but Pickles’ photo had racked up close to 500 retweets at the time of writing.