Why David Cameron will have to stump up £1,000 to keep Obama’s BBQ gift

Adam Parris-Long

It was given with the best intentions, but Barack Obama may have just cost David Cameron £1,000.

In a gift trade-off between the two leaders before a lavish state dinner at the White House the US president gave the Prime Minister and his wife Samantha a customised Braten 1000 Series Grill, while Obama received a specially made table tennis table in return.

But while both were said to be delighted with their respective presents, Cameron will need to fork out just over £1,000 to keep his barbecue as parliamentary rules restrict ministers from keeping gifts worth more than £140.

Despite the extra expense the PM at least received something worth showing off to the kids. Gordon Brown was said to be seriously underwhelmed in 2009 when he was given a DVD boxset of 25 classic American films– an offering that didn’t quite match the pen holder made from timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet that Obama received.

The traditional gift swapping ritual came as the Cameron and Obama enjoyed a state dinner at the White House, with a slew of politicians, celebrities and sport stars invited. Among those in attendance were George Clooney, Richard Branson, Warren Buffett and Rory McIlroy.

Speaking during a toast both leaders heralded the “special relationship”, which Cameron said he could feel “in his bones”. Both also directly referred to the conflict in Libya, with Cameron stating: "Let us all agree, the world is better off without Bin Laden, but the world is also better off without Gaddafi.”

In turn, the president said of Cameron: "I've seen his character, I've seen his commitment to human dignity in Libya.”

Star quality at White House dinner