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Tue, 14 July 2020

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Boris Johnson under fire over £14,000 all-expenses paid trip to Saudi Arabia

Boris Johnson under fire over £14,000 all-expenses paid trip to Saudi Arabia

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Boris Johnson has come under fire after it emerged he enjoyed an all-expenses paid junket to Saudi Arabia worth £14,000 just days before journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered.

The former Foreign Secretary took a three-day trip to Jeddah between 19 and 21 September paid for by the Saudi government, according to the latest register of MPs’ interests.

Washington Post journalist Mr Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul on 2 October, sparking accusations from around the world that his death was sanctioned by Riyadh.

He had been a long-standing critic of the Saudi regime, and was reportedly strangled and dismembered when he visited to consulate to collect some marriage documents.

A source close to Mr Johnson told The Sun the top Tory had “denounced the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and continues to believe that the UK must hold Saudi Arabia to account for this barbaric act”.

They argued the political bigwig had “visited Saudi Arabia to discuss his long-standing campaign of improving education for women and girls”.

But Jon Trickett, the Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “This is yet another reminder of how far the Tories’ cosy relationship with the murderous Saudi regime extends.”

Mr Johnson revealed that he visited Saudi Arabia in his Telegraph column last week, but he failed to say who paid for the trip.

He wrote: “There can be no suggestion of a stitch-up, or of denying justice to Mr Khashoggi and his family out of deference to Saudi sensibilities.

“The UK should prepare to sanction those involved in carrying out or authorising the brutal killing of this journalist, not least since journalists are now being killed around the world at an unprecedented rate.”

Elsewhere, the register of interests revealed that Mr Johnson was handed a £50,000 donation from controversial hedge-fund founder Jon Wood to pay for his office and staffing costs as an MP.

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