The Prime Minister triggered the controversy by naming Mr Ross as the ‘donor’ of the holiday in the Commons register of interests on Wednesday. But although the former Carphone Warehouse tycoon accepted that he arranged the trip, his spokesman insisted that he did not ‘pay any monies whatsoever’…reports Asian Lite News
The mystery over the payment of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and girlfriend Carrie Symonds’ Caribbean holidays continue as the owner of the villa confirmed to the Mail that she was paid £15000.
David Ross, the British businessman whom Mr Johnson declared had provided the £15,000 ‘benefit in kind’ – denied he had been the one to pay. So the question is who paid the bill?
The Prime Minister triggered the controversy by naming Mr Ross as the ‘donor’ of the holiday in the Commons register of interests on Wednesday. But although the former Carphone Warehouse tycoon accepted that he arranged the trip, his spokesman insisted that he did not ‘pay any monies whatsoever’.
Mr Johnson is facing the prospect of a Commons sleaze inquiry over his declaration about the trip, with Labour yesterday formally writing to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, demanding an investigation into who paid. Two former standards chiefs have also joined the calls for an inquiry, warning that they believed Mr Johnson had not followed the rules properly.
The Mail tracked down the American owners of the luxury villa on the island of Mustique where Mr Johnson stayed with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds over the New Year period. Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds arrived at the property on Boxing Day last year and stayed for ten days at the hideaway, which boasts four-poster beds, open air terraces and an infinity pool.
For their post-Christmas break, Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds flew British Airways to St Lucia and then used a small propeller plane for the hop to Mustique. According to the villa’s advertised price of $27,000 per week at that time of year, a ten-day stay would normally have cost $38,500 (£29,500). The villa is priced at varying rates depending on the time of year. But in the two weeks leading up to January 4 it was advertised at the premium rate.
Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party has urged Prime Minister Johnson to clarify who paid for his Caribbean holiday over the New Year, after it was revealed that a businessman covered the expenses.
Labour’s shadow minister for the cabinet office, Jon Trickett, said that Johnson “must come clean” about the money, adding that if he does not, Parliament’s standards watchdog “should step in”.
“The public deserves to know who is paying for their prime minister’s jaunts,” Trickett added.
According to the MPs’ register of interests, the accommodation, which cost 15,000 pounds, was covered by David Ross, the co-founder of Carphone Warehouse. The entry in Johnson’s register of interests said that Ross donated accommodation “for a private holiday for my partner and me, value 15,000 pounds”.
Downing Street has also said that the trip had been properly registered. But a spokesman of Ross told the Daily Mail he did not pay for the stay and only helped arrange it.
“Boris wanted some help to find somewhere in Mustique, David called the company who run all the villas and somebody had dropped out. So Boris got the use of a villa that was worth 15,000 pounds, but David Ross did not pay any monies whatsoever for this,” the spokesman added.
Ross was one of Johnson’s aides in City Hall and was appointed to the Olympics organising committee, said the BBC report. But he resigned from the roles, and his company, over a share scandal in 2008.
Ross has also been a long-standing donor to the Conservative Party, pledging 250,000 pounds in the last election campaign.