Michael Gove has come under fire for mixing business and pleasure after it emerged he sipped Mojitos in Marrakech with the chef he later appointed as school dinner adviser.
The education secretary's holiday antics were revealed by his journalist wife Sarah Vine, who tweeted on 12 April:
Henry Dimbleby, co-owner of the Leon restaurant chain, was appointed as school food adviser for the government on 4 July, along with his business partner John Vincent. The pair were commissioned by Gove to examine school meals across the country and create a plan of action to improve the food made available to schoolchildren.
At the time, Gove said the men brought a "wealth of practical experience in delivering good food on a budget".
"I am delighted they have agreed to develop a robust plan to improve schools food and ensure children are given an education that cultivates in them an understanding of food and nutrition," he added.
But Labour has expressed shock at the alleged cosying up - which was reported in the Independent on Sunday.
Sharon Hodgson, party spokesman on children's affairs, said: "It is shocking that the Secretary of State has not been upfront about his relationship with the people he has appointed to review school food.
"I know that Henry and John will listen to the experts in the sector, as they have been doing already, but this revelation casts serious doubt on the impartiality of the review's findings - especially given that Michael Gove's policy so far has been to exempt vast swathes of schools from having to abide by the quality standards Labour put in place.
"The Secretary of State now needs to publish all the documents and correspondence associated with setting up this review, including from his personal email accounts, as well as any payments he has authorised to his friends."
According to the Sunday broadsheet, a Department of Education source admitted the pair met on holiday and discussed how to improve school meals.
Since the article was published, Dimbleby, son of the famous broadcaster David Dimbleby, has taken to Twitter to defend himself, tweeting "it wasn't a mojito!".
He then added:
Vine has also reacted in outrage to the Independent's claim of "chats at the poolside", tweeting:
The Huffington Post has contacted the Department for Education for comment but it has yet to reply.
The review has already come under fire by celebrity chef and good-food campaigner Jamie Oliver, who said it was time to ditch "costly reports" and take action.
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more