UK MPs under fire over £1.5m trips abroad

2012-11-23 09:08
David Miliband, Britain's former foreign secretary, speaks during a press conference in Abu Dhabi in November 2010. (File, AFP)

David Miliband, Britain's former foreign secretary, speaks during a press conference in Abu Dhabi in November 2010. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

London - British lawmakers were under fire on Friday for racking up £1.5m worth of visits to foreign countries in the last two years, paid for by governments, firms and pressure groups.

Around 242 members of parliament have declared "fact-finding missions" and visits worth £6 500 on average, The Independent newspaper said in a front-page report on "the full scale of MPs' lavish globetrotting".

Foreign governments, private firms and pressure groups have paid for a swathe of trips to exotic destinations, the daily said.

While 36 visits were made to China and Hong Kong, 23 to India and 34 to the United States, only one MP accepted a trip to Afghanistan and just two were recorded visiting nearby Belgium.

After the trips, several MPs made speeches in parliament supporting the positions of the governments and countries they visited, The Independent said.

One in five backbenchers in Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party have been taken on trips to Israel and the Palestinian territories since 2010, mostly on visits paid for by pro-Israeli lobbying groups, the newspaper found.

73 days out of the country

Former foreign secretary David Miliband was the second-highest claiming MP, taking 14 foreign trips costing £47 600 since his brother Ed beat him to the leadership of the opposition Labour Party.

Miliband's spokesperson insisted the visits "are fitted around parliamentary commitments".

Labour colleague Barry Gardiner topped the list, with £52 071 worth of foreign trips since the May 2010 general election, spending 73 days out of the country.

He has been to both Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town twice, alongside other visits to destinations including New York, Japan and China.

Tamasin Cave of the transparency group Spinwatch, told The Independent: "MPs do need knowledge of other countries but the list of states that feel the need to court politicians includes many with dubious reputations. This is not a new game.

"London-based PR firms have for years laundered the reputations of countries with dreadful human rights records, but MPs should not be drawn into this.

An MPs' place is in parliament

"Let's hope they spend as much time talking to pro-democracy and opposition groups from those countries."

In its editorial, The Independent said an MP's place was in parliament.

"While it is entirely possible that MPs' views are not affected by any hospitality received, the acceptance of expenses-paid travel can only leave their integrity open to question. Parliament should be protected from such a taint, however unjustified," it said.

"When it comes to conflicts of interest, perception is all. The impression that MPs might be grasping for "freebies", or that their partiality can be purchased by perks, is highly damaging whether true or not."

Read more on:    david miliband  |  uk
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!

MIT has created a robo-cheetah that will one day outrun Usain Bolt!

 
 

For chic geeks...

New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Man climbs into active volcano

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. You...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.