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Ian Paisley Jr accepted £100,000 holidays from Sri Lanka - Telegraph

Updated 1120 GMT

The DUP MP, Ian Paisley Jr accepted holidays worth £100,000 from the Sri Lankan government while helping securing trade deals for the state, however, never disclosed the trips in the Commons register of interests, the Telegraph reported. 

According to the paper, Mr Paisley accepted two all-inclusive holidays for him and his four children, flying business class with VIP lounge access, six hotel across two trips and being chauffeur driven in a Mercedes. The trip was funded by the Sri lankan ministry of external affairs. A helicopter was also provided for Mr Paisley and his family to travel around the island, with Sri Lankan ministry of defence approval.

'During discussions with officials, he offered to help the state broker an oil deal, saying he had “significant arrangements with national oil suppliers” in Oman and Nigeria,' the paper claimed. Shortly after his trip to Sri Lanka, he called for the Queen to visit the island.

Mr Paisley is one of ten DUP MPs providing Theresa May's Conservative party a majority in parliament. 

With Sri Lanka high commissioner to discuss NI-Sri Lanka trade deal after Brexit pic.twitter.com/PCZvgln72f

— Ian Paisley MP (@ianpaisleymp) September 4, 2017

The Sri Lankan High Commission in London praised Mr Paisley, noting that he was in a particularly good position to help Colombo "enhance trade relations between Sri Lankan and UK". 

Describing the report as "disturbing" the Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh was quoted by the Telegraph as saying it appeared Mr Paisley was attempting to carry out a “back-door trade agreement.”

“Sri Lanka has a seriously bad human rights record. Why would anybody accept holidays for their family if they wanted to speak in defence of the regime?," she asked. "Surely they understand, and surely the regime understands, that it undermines the honesty and validty of the view they are expressing."

In a tweet rejecting any criticism, Mr Paisley said: "The Daily Telegraph article is defamatory. It is devoid of fact or logic. Referred to my lawyer."

"I will refer myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards," he added. 

With Liam Fox discussing our trade agreements post Brexit. — Ian Paisley MP (@ianpaisleymp) September 6, 2017

Tweet by Mr Paisley featuring a photograph of himself with MP Liam Fox who resigned after reports emerged of his dealings with the Sri Lankan government. 

 

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