‘Who paid?’ Labour calls for in­quiry into PM’s holiday

The Guardian - - National - Rajeev Syal

Labour is de­mand­ing a for­mal in­quiry by par­lia­ment’s watch­dog into Boris John­son’s £15,000 Caribbean holiday af­ter the prime min­is­ter and a Tory donor failed to dis­close who paid for it.

Jon Trick­ett, the shadow cab­i­net min­is­ter, has writ­ten to the stan­dards com­mis­sioner, Kathryn Hud­son, ask­ing her to in­ves­ti­gate John­son’s lat­est dec­la­ra­tion in the regis­ter of mem­bers’ in­ter­ests. It claims that one of the founders of Car­phone Ware­house, David Ross, had al­lowed the prime min­is­ter and his part­ner, Car­rie Sy­monds, to use ac­com­mo­da­tion for a pri­vate holiday in St Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines.

How­ever, on Wednesday night Ross re­port­edly told the Daily Mail he was not the owner of the villa on the is­land of Mus­tique where John­son had stayed and that he had not paid for the holiday.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, a spokesman for the busi­ness­man said Ross had “fa­cil­i­tated ac­com­mo­da­tion” but did not say who paid for it. “Mr Ross fa­cil­i­tated ac­com­mo­da­tion for Mr John­son on Mus­tique val­ued at £15,000. There­fore this is a ben­e­fit in kind from Mr Ross to Mr John­son, and Mr John­son’s dec­la­ra­tion to the House of Commons is cor­rect,” the spokesman said.

Re­leas­ing a for­mal re­quest for an in­quiry, Trick­ett said Ross’s new state­ment left an ob­vi­ous, unan­swered query. “So the ques­tion re­mains: who paid?” He wrote: “Trans­parency is cru­cial to en­sur­ing that the pub­lic have con­fi­dence that elected mem­bers of this house have not been un­duly in­flu­enced by any do­na­tions or gifts that they may re­ceive.”

Ac­cord­ing to the regis­ter of mem­bers’ in­ter­ests, MPs “have a wide-rang­ing duty to draw at­ten­tion to (‘de­clare’) an in­ter­est on al­most any oc­ca­sion when some­one else might rea­son­ably con­sider it to in­flu­ence what they say or do as an MP”.

A spokesman for the stan­dards com­mis­sioner said her of­fice did not comment about re­ceiv­ing com­plaints or whether it in­tended to launch in­quiries. No 10 has claimed that Ross was re­spon­si­ble for the holiday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.