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1st CLASS CHANCER; Osborne forced to fork out PS160 for fare dodge.

Byline: Jason Beattie

MILLIONAIRE Chancellor George Osborne was forced to pay a PS160 train ticket upgrade after insisting on sitting in first class with only a standard ticket.

An aide said Osborne "couldn't possibly sit in second class" and demanded a free upgrade - but the ticket collector refused.

The Chancellor, who was recently booed by the 80,000 crowd at the Paralympics, then paid the full PS160 fare so he did not have to travel with standard passengers.

Labour MP Michael Dugher said last night: "Another day, another demonstration of how out of touch this Government is.

"Like Andrew Mitchell, Osborne obviously thinks it's one rule for him and another for the plebs he's so keen to sit apart from. So much for, 'We're all in it together'."

The incident happened as the Chancellor returned from this Cheshire constituency yesterday afternoon. After boarding the Virgin train at Wilsmlow, he went straight to first class - even though he only had a standard ticket.

Witness Rachel Townsend, an ITV Granada correspondent, tweeted details of an argument with the train staff when the Chancellor refused to leave the posh seats. The ticket collector refused to give ground and when asked to provide a free upgrade, he replied: "No chance."

Townsend said later: "The aide said Osborne couldn't possibly sit in standard class. The guard replied saying, 'If he wants to stay, it's PS160'.

"The aide said he couldn't pay and he couldn't really sit in standard. The guard refused to budge.

"The guard went on gathering tickets and later told me Osborne had agreed to cough up the PS160."

When he arrived at Euston, Osborne was ushered out through a side door so he did not have to face the waiting press pack.

Under new expenses rules, MPs are only funded the cost of second-class travel.

The move prompted Tory MP Sir Nicholas Winterton to complain he would have to sit with a "different type of people".

Bob Crow, leader of the RMT rail union, said last night: "This says it all about this rotten Government. George Osborne attempting to bunk first class is this Con-Dem administration in a nutshell."


BRAZEN Z Osborne an his aide on train. Below, journalist's tweets
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 20, 2012
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