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