Culture minister may lose job over pricey dinners

December 4th, 2012

This article is more than 11 years old.

After spending the last few days in the eye of a political storm, Uffe Elbæk changes part of his story and loses the backing of his colleagues

Uffe Elbæk risks losing his position as culture minister after new revelations emerged today regarding his spending of 180,000 kroner on five official dinners and meetings at Akademiet for Utæmmet Kreativitet, an art school where his husband is employed, and where he himself was a member of the board.

After the story broke over the weekend, opposition parties and the government's far-left ally Enhedslisten (EL) said they needed more answers from Elbæk (Radikale). The explanations they received today have led to the case "taking a very unfortunate turn", according to EL's Per Clausen. 

Prior to today's meeting, Elbæk told assembled media that he had discussed the five lavish dinners with officials in his ministry, who raised no concerns. Following the meeting, however, Elbæk changed his tune and said that he had in fact been warned about the dinners.

"There was one official who was good enough to say, 'Uffe, we need to discuss this. In the long-term, this isn't very smart'," Elbæk said. "And I completely agree with him."

Both EL and opposition party Venstre are now calling for the national auditor's office, Rigsrevisionen, to investigate. Elbæk said he would welcome that move.

"That would be a good outcome of the meeting," he said. "I would have no problems with that."

TV2 News reported this evening that with the change in Elbæk's explanation, he had lost the backing of key allies in the government. As a result, his job is now in jeopardy.

Elbæk told TV2 News that if it was true that his colleagues would like to see him step down he would be disappointed, but added that it wasn't his decision to make. He also told the station that what he did "lacked political judgement".

TV2's political analyst, Henrik Qvortrup, said that Elbæk's position as culture minister is "very much in danger". 


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