As Guido reported last week, there was one MP’s junket to Saudi Arabia which was conspicuously absent from the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. Keith Vaz’s spokesman has said that the reason why the trip wasn’t declared was because Vaz paid for it all himself:
‘’The visit to Riyadh in December 2017 was as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Yemen to meet the Yemeni President who was living there. The cost of the visit, accommodation and travel was borne by Mr Vaz personally. It was therefore not declarable.”
Vaz visited the Yemeni President and Foreign Minister, the Saudi Foreign Minister and the King Salman Relief Centre on his trip to Riyadh last December. Yet neither the Saudi or Yemeni Governments were generous enough to reach into their pockets to help him cover any of the cost of his trip. Vaz’s £77,379 salary is the sort of money the Saudis lose down the back of the sofa – after all they’ve shelled out over £170,000 to British MPs in the last 18 months. Poor old Keith must have really rubbed them up the wrong way for them to not offer him any declarable hospitality…
Vaz is not famously keen on putting his hand in his pocket for hotel expenses. Guido remembers another time Vaz forgot to make a declaration – “Vaz Didn’t Declare Hotels Used For Encounters With Young Men“. Is it possible that he has done the same again?