Rishi Sunak criticised for posing with £180 ‘smart mug’ in pre-budget photo

PUBLISHED: 09:24 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 08 July 2020

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak preparing the Economic Update he will present to Parliament. Photograph: SIMON WALKER  HM TREASURY/PA Wire.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak preparing the Economic Update he will present to Parliament. Photograph: SIMON WALKER HM TREASURY/PA Wire.

Simon Walker HM Treasury

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been criticised for posing with a £180 ‘smart mug’ as part of the traditional pre-budget photograph.

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Hours before delivering his mini-budget to the House of Commons on Wednesday Sunak was seen reviewing the documents, alongside his work computer, and an Ember Travel Mug worth £179.95 online.

Said to have been a gift from his wife Akshata Murthy, daughter of India’s sixth richest man, it is designed to do “more than simply keep your coffee hot”.

The online description says: “Our smart mug allows you to set an exact drinking temperature and keeps it there for up to three hours, so your coffee is never too hot, or too cold.”

It is designed to work by bluetooth with an app, which is smart watch compatible, to time the perfect brew with presets for different drink types from lattes to green teas.

The then Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond drinking a cup of tea as he prepares his speech in his office in Downing Street. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/PA Wire.The then Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond drinking a cup of tea as he prepares his speech in his office in Downing Street. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/PA Wire.

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The picture is in contrast to Philip Hammond’s pre-budget photograph, which included a personalised Emma Bridgewater mug with the word “chancellor” on it.

George Osborne also prepared for his budget by tweeting a picture of himself enjoying a Byron Burger.

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran pointed out that to make the £180 cost of Sunak’s mug young people would have to work more than a week at the current minimum wage of £6.75 an hour.


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It would take even longer for under 18s, who earn just £4.55 an hour.

The Lib Dem leadership candidate said: “At a time when millions are struggling to get by, the chancellor is posing with a £180 coffee mug.

“It would take an 18 year old on the government’s new work placement scheme over a week to earn that much.

“This shows a staggering lack of self awareness.”

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