Tennis rackets from the French president, an iPad from the New York mayor, ties from Italy's prime minister: Being Britain's prime minister, David Cameron has some perks, though he's not allowed to take any of these gifts home for free.
Britain's government published a list of gifts recently received by Cameron and top ministers Thursday, as part of a drive for improved transparency. The list showed that most of the gifts over the reporting threshold of 140 pounds ($223) had to be held by the government _ if Cameron wanted them for himself he has to pay.
Among the gifts presented to Cameron since he became prime minister in May: Wine, tennis rackets and pens from France's Nicholas Sarkozy, jewelry from the King of Bahrain, a bowl from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a painting from President Barack Obama, and a rug from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
IPads were a popular choice _ the data showed that Cameron received two, including one from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while Home Secretary Theresa May received one from her Italian counterpart. Both Cameron and May paid 429 pounds to purchase one iPad each. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Foreign Secretary William Hague received no gifts, the records showed.
Cameron's office at 10 Downing Street said most of the gifts _ which also included a bottle of whisky, a set of pens and a hamper _ have been held as national assets or would be used for official entertainment.
The government also published information about ministerial meetings and expenses that ministers incurred on overseas trips and by paying special advisers.
The lists were intended to show that the government was sharing in the austerity measures being imposed on the rest of the country. Cameron did not give any presents worth more than the 140-pound limit to foreign leaders, and sometimes traveled on scheduled flights to cut costs.
The material also showed that American media tycoon Rupert Murdoch was among the first to visit Cameron in Downing Street in May _ the only formal meeting held at Cameron's office that month aside from those held with foreign politician leaders.