Politics

Rishi Sunak alarmed at ‘worrying’ behavior of UK MPs Abroad – POLITICO

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LONDON — Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said accusations of alcohol abuse and sexual abuse by British MPs during overseas visits were “deeply concerning”, but declined to back the groups’ reform little-known parliamentarians organizing their trips.

A POLITICO investigation has revealed how parliamentary visits to foreign countries have been exploited by some MPs and peers from All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) as an opportunity for covert use of sex workers and heavy drinking.

A Downing Street spokesman said on Wednesday that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was aware of the “worrying” reports and urged lawmakers to focus on working for the public good.

“We saw some of the reports over the Christmas period and just before, and some of the reported behavior is clearly very concerning,” spokesperson No 10 said.

“The Prime Minister believes MPs should work hard for the public, and the vast majority have been focused on tackling our common challenges, whether that’s supporting the most vulnerable or working to make our schools better and our streets safer,” he added. .

The spokesman declined to say whether the Prime Minister would support reform of APPGs – loosely regulated groups of MPs from all parties, with interests in specific policy areas – saying that was a matter for the House of Commons authorities rather than government.

Particular concerns have been raised about the activities of ‘national APPGs’, more than 130 of which operate within the UK parliament. These groups of deputies focus their investigative work on a specific foreign country or countries. Members frequently travel to their country of interest on private fact-finding missions, funded by foreign governments or private companies and often during UK parliamentary time. Officials in attendance say some MPs in these groups take the job seriously, but others see the travel purely as a recreational pleasure.

The allegations reported by POLITICO included a former Tory MP asking where he could find the nearest brothel while visiting a Southeast Asian country, and a former minister staying after official trips ended to continue his “interest in [local] women.”

A senior Labor MP has shown a fondness for ‘Russian girls’ while traveling abroad, according to a foreign diplomat, who said local officials felt powerless to intervene as they feared to preserve their influence in Westminster.

A separate article published by The Times on Wednesday said British MPs visiting a dictatorship were met at their hotel by a number of sex workers. The Times said there was no evidence that MPs knew in advance that sex workers would be present or that they were using their services.

On another visit to a country with close ties to the UK, the Times reported, an MP had to be reprimanded for repeatedly proposing young female trainees who were helping to organize the tour.



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