21 November, 2018

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Ian Paisley Jr’s Luxury Sri Lankan Escapade: On Hypocrisy & Foreign Affairs Mismanagement

By Chamindra Weerawardhana –

Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana

On 19th July 2018, the session at the Westminster House of Commons was a sight that said a lot about the polities and politics of both Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka. Ian Paisley Jr MP, offspring of the late Dr Ian Paisley Sr MP [later Lord Bannside] and the Baroness Paisley of St George, delivered a ‘personal’, if not mea culpastatement’, which concerned two luxury holidays in Sri Lanka, fully paid for by the Government of Sri Lanka, for himself and his family. In Paisley’s own admission, “it is with profound personal regret and deep personal embarrassment” that he made his statement [the full text of the statement is available here]. 

The Current Backdrop: Northern Ireland, the Stormont stalemate and the DUP  

To those new to the politics of Northern Ireland, Paisley Jr is the Westminster MP for North Antrim, one of the 18 Westminster constituencies in the Province. At the 2017 UK General Election, the results in Northern Ireland very clearly displayed the emergence of what can be termed a largely ‘two-party’ system in the province’s polity, with 10 of the 18 seats going Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP – founded by our protagonist’s father, the late Ian Paisley Sr), the strongest Unionist voice, and 7 seats to Sinn Féin, the strongest Irish Nationalist voice (Sinn Féin MPs practice a policy of abstentionism, and do not take their seats at the Westminster House of Commons). 

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Executive has been in a months-long stalemate over disagreements between DUP and SF. Although the Good Friday Agreement’s institutions and elite cooperation-focused political makeover was intended at collaborative governance by and representation of all political hues in the province, it eventually led to the somewhat  unexpected outcome of strengthening the strongest advocates of Unionism and Irish nationalism, a development that some analysts describe as the rise of ‘tribune’ parties. Currently, the DUP’s ten MPs hold a significant position in the Conservative Party’s balance of power. Reaching an accord with the DUP, to the tune of allocating £ 1 billion of extra public funds to Northern Ireland over the next two years, was Prime Minister Theresa May’s main strategy to form a ‘minority government’ and remain in power after the 2017 general election resulted in a hung parliament. Consequently, the DUP currently gets more national British media coverage than usual, and is in the limelight on a constant basis. 

In hot water for a sunny holiday? 

To the ardent Unionist and leading DUP figure, things certainly do not look good. 

The House of Commons Committee on Standards (HCCS)has produced a damning report of Paisley Jr’s Sri Lankan escapade. There is a likelihood that he could be forced to stand down and face a by-election. 

On the 19th of July 2018, and as per standard practice, the recommendation of the HCCS to suspend Mr Paisley Jr went before the House, in the form of a motion moved by the Leader of the House. 

A Commons vote then suspended Paisley Jr from the House of Commons for a period of seven weeks, the longest suspension issued for a sitting MP in 15  years. This ban is also estimated to be one of the longest bans issued by the House of Commons in 70 years. Given the DUP’s current arrangements with the British Conservatives, the suspension [to begin on 4th September 2018], affects Theresa May’s parliamentary majority by one vote, which risks affecting key Brexit votes to come in the autumn of 2018.  

As a consequence of legislative changes made in 2015, this ban risks triggering a petition calling for Mr Paisley to stand down [often referred to as a ‘Recall Petition’]. If 10% of the electorate signs the said petition within a duration of six weeks, a by-election should be called in Paisley’s constituency of North Antrim. 

 

Calls for such a recall petition concerning Paisley are already under way in full swing in Northern Ireland. A few examples from social media, which demonstrate how the Paisley Jr suspension has affected the political sphere of Northern Ireland, appear below: 

 

 

 

Some journalists have also zoomed in on Paisley Jr’s hypocrisy and inclination to provide false information, which have been part and parcel of ‘PaisleyGate’ from the beginning. 

 

The trips: Lankan hospitality in style? 

The two 2013 trips in question cost the Government of Sri Lanka up to a staggering 100,000 GBP. The first trip, according to the HCCS Report, took place from 30 March to 5 April 2013. The second trip was in July 2013, and in a strange coincidence (!), Paisley Jr. apparently had great trouble recalling the exact dates of the visit. According the HCCS Report, 

He [Paisley Jr] told me that he had been in his constituency on 6 April 2013 and that his diary entry for that date confirmed this.35 He said he “did not disagree” that he had returned home sometime early on 5 April 2013. Mr Paisley said again that he was less clear about the dates of his second visit to Sri Lanka in 2013. He said he departed on 1 July and his diary was “blank” for that week. From memory, the itinerary had “chopped and changed” but he was home [in Northern Ireland] for the 12 July parades. He said his diary showed he had been in New York City on 13 July and he would not have arrived home in Northern Ireland on 11 or 12 July and then departed the same day for New York. He said he would have returned from Sri Lanka on either 8 or 9 July 2013. Mr Paisley said that “For a whole host of other reasons I try not to tie down my scheduling in such a precise manner as I do not want too many people getting hold of my daily engagements and movements for security reasons and that is even more pronounced when I travel abroad where I have even less control over such matters as personal security.” (p. 22). 

The discreet luxury trips came to public attention when The Telegraph published an article on 8 September 2017, emphatically entitled “The MP, the £100k gifts and the Brexit trade deal: Questions over Ian Paisley Jr’s register of interests after Sri Lanka trip”. 

Some sections of this article are worth quoting: 

Documents seen by the Telegraph show that Mr Paisley took his wife and four children to the country.

They flew business class, stayed in the finest hotels and were provided with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, all paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

During discussions with [Sri Lankan] officials, he offered to help the state broker an oil deal, saying he had “significant arrangements with national oil suppliers” in Oman and Nigeria.

When the investigation began, Paisley Jr. was quite reluctant to produce accurate information. To quote the HCCS Report: 

On 30 October 2017 Mr Paisley wrote to the Commissioner.30 He said that he believed he had left for Sri Lanka on 29 March 2013 and returned seven days later. He said that he believed the value of the flights was approximately £5,000, quoting economy flights on Sri Lanka Airlines at approximately £800 per person. Mr Paisley said that the dates for his July trip were “less certain”. He believed that he had travelled out on 2 July and was back in the UK by 8 July 2013. He estimated the flight costs at approximately £4,000. Mr Paisley said his visits had been to enable him “to gain a wider knowledge of the political and social situation on the ground in Sri Lanka” although he had no doubt had some free time. His family had accompanied him but had not attended his official meetings. (p. 20). 

The Evidence that the HCCS obtained from The Telegraph is quoted in full below. It is of importance to expose in detail the sheer lavishness of these (futile) expenses, incurred on Sri Lankan tax payers’ money: 

…an itinerary for a visit from 30 March to 5 April 2013, which had been authorised by the Deputy Chief of Protocol and bore the stamp “Ministry of Foreign Affairs  Minister’s Secretariat”; 

– the itinerary included “air transportation from London-Colombo-London”; a Mercedes and a luxury van for the same dates; hotel accommodation from 30 March to 5 April; and “ground transportation”. The cost of the flights was noted to be 8,000 US dollars; 

  • other documents, including: 
    • –  a Sri Lankan Airlines invoice dated 25 March 2013, for return flights for 6 passengers at a cost of 585,035 Sri Lankan rupees per person. The invoiced total was for 3,510,210 rupees, with a request for payment to be sent to the airline’s accounts department; 
    • – three letters reserving hotel accommodation between 30 March and 5 April, which were sent on 25, 27 March and 1 April 2013; 
    •    a reservation sent on 27 March 2013, by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence and Urban Development to the Commander of the Air Force, for internal flights for Mr Paisley on 1, 3 and 4 April 2013; 
    • – an invoice from a private helicopter tour company sent on 8 April 2013 to the Ministry of External Affairs for flights between 1 April and 5 April 2013, for the sum of 1,208,197.67 rupees, to be paid by cheque to the company. 
    •    a “tentative programme” for a visit between 31 March and 5 April 2013 which showed Mr Paisley’s family scheduled to depart London at 18.00 hours on 30 March, arriving in Sri Lanka on 31 March 2013. The proposed programme included a visit to a Sri Lankan national park, stays at three different hotels, internal flights and transfers at the beginning and end of the visit; and 
  • emails from the Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs arranging a visit for Mr Paisley, his wife and two of his children in July 2013. 
    • – a quote for fares, from Sri Lanka Airlines addressed to the Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs, dated 17 June 2013, sent to the Minister of External Affairs. The invoice was for 468,422 Sri Lankan rupees per person. (The number of travellers was not given and no dates were specified.); 
    • – a 17 June 2013 quote from a helicopter tour company for flights on 2, 4, 6 and 11 July for four passengers. Each flight was quoted in US dollars: two flights were quoted at 3,950 dollars; one at 3,650 dollars and the fourth at 3,200 dollars; 
    • – emails sent on 21 June 2013 which referred to the visit on 1 to 11 July 2013. These emails were to arrange a visit on 3 July to Sigiriya Rock Fortress; and on 6 July to an elephant orphanage. English-speaking guides were requested. 
  • emails from the Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs arranging a visit for Mr Paisley, his wife and two of his children in July 2013. 
    • – a quote for fares, from Sri Lanka Airlines addressed to the Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs, dated 17 June 2013, sent to the Minister of External Affairs. The invoice was for 468,422 Sri Lankan rupees per person. (The number of travellers was not given and no dates were specified.); 
    • –  a 17 June 2013 quote from a helicopter tour company for flights on 2, 4, 6 and 11 July for four passengers. Each flight was quoted in US dollars: two flights were quoted at 3,950 dollars; one at 3,650 dollars and the fourth at 3,200 dollars; 
    • – emails sent on 21 June 2013 which referred to the visit on 1 to 11 July 2013. These emails were to arrange a visit on 3 July to Sigiriya Rock Fortress; and on 6 July to an elephant orphanage. English-speaking guides were requested. 

On 3 July the Department of National Zoological Gardens confirmed permission had been granted for the visit to the elephant orphanage “free of charge”; 

  • – an email sent from the Ministry of External Affairs to Sri Lanka Airlines booking business-class seats for Mr Paisley, his wife and two children for 1 July 2013 (leaving London at 21.35 hours) and returning on 11 July 2013 (leaving Colombo at 13.05 hours); 
  • –  an email sent on 28 June 2013 referring to Mr Paisley’s “presentation of credentials” on 3 July 2013; 
  • – hotel reservations, dated 28 June 2013 booking “deluxe” rooms at three hotels for Mr Paisley’s family for the period 2 to 10 July 2013; and 
  • – a request for landing permission, made on 4 July 2013 by the Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs, for a helicopter to land later that day. The request was titled “Visit of Hon Ian Paisley, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom and his family 1st to 11th July 2013”. (pp. 26-27). 

The legal limbo

The primary reason why this trip has caused controversy is the fact that it breaches a parliamentary rule applying to all MPs, that they have to register all family holidays, as long as they are “wholly unconnected with membership of the House or with the Member’s parliamentary or political activities”. The Register of Members’ Financial Interests is an important mechanism for accountability. It enables MPs to declare income, gifts or affiliations that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest with their parliamentary roles. 

According to the HCCS Report, expenses that go beyond the registration threshold of the time [660 GBP] should be declared, and the entries in the register should be highly detailed, covering the costs of travel, hotels, meals, hospitality and care hire. 

Sri Lanka’s foreign policy nightmares: When paying won’t pay

In 2012, the Rajapaksa administration funded a sum of GBP 3200 to a visit by a cross-party delegation of British MPs to Sri Lanka. Earlier that year, Paisley had also visited Sri Lanka on a trade mission.

Subsequently, Paisley Jr and his family were paid two luxury holidays in the sun, entirely at the cost of the Government of Sri Lanka. The objective was to lure the then British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative Government [via Ian Paisley Jr] to subvert the UK’s Sri Lanka policy in favour of the Rajapaksa administration, and request for support especially with regards to Sri Lanka-related UN HRC resolutions and the island’s overall post-war ‘image’ in the West. 

‘Sri Lanka lobbying’ by Paisley Jr. ?

As a consequence of the Sri Lankan pampering, Paisley Jr wrote to Prime Minister Cameron on 19 March 2014, calling upon him to “lobby against a proposed United Nations resolution setting up an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka”. 

According to the HCCS Report, 

He [Paisley Jr] wrote to the Prime Minister on 19 March 2014 urging him not to support the UN motion which “internationalised” the dispute within Sri Lanka. That letter amounted to paid advocacy, putting Mr Paisley in breach of paragraph 11 of the 2012 Code of Conduct for Members (p. 32). 

Above: Ian Paisley Jr MP with Amari Wijewardene, former High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK and Ambassador to Ireland, at Westminster, September 2017. Source: The Telegraph

The efforts have continued, and in September 2017, Paisley Jr published a photograph on his social media, posing with the then Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London, a kinswoman of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. The caption of the photograph read “With Sri Lanka high commissioner to discuss NI-Sri Lanka trade deal after Brexit.”

Two days after that meeting, Paisley Jr posted yet another photo with yet another ‘friend’ of Sri Lanka in the Conservative Party, Dr Liam Fox, who was at the time International Trade Secretary. 

 

Above: Paisley Jr with Dr Liam Fox, September 2017. Source: The Telegraph

Fox, like Paisley Jr, has had long-standing links with Sri Lanka dating back to the mid-1990s [which, for their part, have also continued]. 

Repercussions for Sri Lankan foreign policy?  

The Paisley Jr suspension should serve as a much-needed ‘wake-up call’ to the Government of Sri Lanka. 

Politics of shady networking, by luring foreign policymakers with lavish gifts, holidays and perks is a strategy all too frequently used by Sri Lankan authorities as a ‘networking method’. This applies to both UNP and SLFP-led coalitions and consequently, also to the current Joint Government. As mentioned above, Paisley Jr has his place in a list of British MPs who benefitted from generous treatment by the Government of Sri Lanka. Another notorious MP who has a place in that list was James Wharton, who was MP for Stockton South from May 2010 to May 2017. He happened to be a frequent visitor to Sri Lanka and a defender of the Rajapaksa administration in the British House of Commons. Above: Wharton, first from right, visiting Northern Sri Lanka in 2012. Source: The Independent

While the Rajapaksa administration was mostly keen to approach Tory MPs, the current Joint Government in Colombo has a record of courting British exponents of [to say the very least…] neoliberal capitalism, such as an infamous Tony Blair, who was given a luxury family holiday in Sri Lanka in the summer of 2015. Commentators in Sri Lanka, including this writer, hammered the Joint Government over the invitation. 

To anyone familiar with the basics of foreign policy praxis, bilateralism and international relations, it does not take long to realise that such luring is almost always futile, especially when it is done à la sri lankaise, with no concrete policy formulation-related ‘basis’, intensive and highly informative background research, and clearly-outlined short, medium, and long-term targets. When this kind of lobbying is done with British MPs, and when one observes how these MPs are received in Colombo, one is stuck by a strongly ‘colonial’ dimension. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sri Lanka (APPGSL), for example, echoes colonial undertones. Despite all attempts to make things sound diplomatic, it is a mechanism of the former colonial power, responsible for major atrocities and violations of fundamental rights on Sri Lankan soil, to watch over developments in Sri Lanka. While maintaining good links with APPGSL is of importance and use, one of the major problems lie in the way in which such links are handled in Colombo. When Sri Lankan MPs visit the House of Commons, they get to meet their counterparts, within the parliamentary structure. Unless in the case of a ministerial visit or a state visit by the Prime Minister or the President, visiting MPs do not get appointments at Downing Street or with the Royals. They do not get high-level meetings with cabinet ministers. In Sri Lanka, almost any British backbencher and Westminster political novice gets to meet the highest officials, and receive VVVIP treatment. Addressing such disparities is a key element in strengthening Sri Lanka-UK relations and in enhancing the productivity of bilateral ties. 

Pointless expenses? 

In short, expenses of this nature show the lack of diplomatic savviness among Sri Lankan diplomats and policymakers. They are unfavourable to Sri Lanka’s interests. Despite Colombo paying so much money [from public funds] to Paisley Jr’s holiday, Sri Lanka-related UN resolutions went ahead, the British government maintained its hostile policy towards the Rajapaksa administration, and when opportunity presented itself, supported a regime change operation. A key culprit of lobbying individual MPs with perks was an infamous Anglo-Sri Lankan, a tea merchant and a medical doctor, who, together with the cohort of other lobbyists who were running the Sri Lankan foreign policy apparatus at the time, should be investigated by Sri Lankan authorities for the mismanagement of public funds and for disgracing Republic on the world stage. 

Since 9 January 2015, the British government and the West at large operates with the relative satisfaction of making the regime change happen. However, Sri Lanka’s foreign policy apparatus has failed to positively capitalise upon the post-2015 scenario for the best interests of Sri Lanka. This, if anything, is the result of a lack of strong strategizing and problems in the effective deployment of expertise. From the appointment of top diplomats to the running of high commissions, embassies and consulates abroad and the formulation of foreign policy in Colombo, there is a significant lack of best practice and strategizing. 

Most importantly perhaps, the biggest shortfall is in terms of institutional culture in the Sri Lankan foreign policy apparatus. 

Lack of Assessment of Sri Lanka’s Present-day Needs? 

The Sri Lankan foreign policy establishment as we know it is a creation of the post-1948 Dominion [and, to a lesser extent, of the subsequent the Sri Lankan Republic]. It was originally created for the needs of the Dominion State and based on Western templates of the time. From today’s vantage point, this makes the Sri Lankan foreign policy structure extremely archaic, difficult to navigate, dramatically lacking in accountability, skills, expertise and most importantly, a comprehensive and constant assessment of the evolving foreign policy NEEDS and REQUIREMENTS of the Sri Lankan state and people. 

Systemic Flaws in Governance? 

These problems are further aggravated by broader shortcomings in the entire governmental, civil service and diplomatic structures at large. To give but one crucial example, Sri Lanka lacks a system of effectively and courteously ‘transferring/handing over’ power, prerogatives and responsibility at all levels of government. 

The lack of hand-overs means that projects begun under one government lapse and are obliterated by another government. As one minister leaves a ministry at the end of a term of office, for example, there is next to no ceremonial or policy-related handover structure. This is a problem that exists at the highest levels of government, starting from the offices of the President and the Prime Minister. It then trickles down to the lowest echelons of public service and governance. Things then take surreal turns, with new governments regularly taking U-turns in relation to the policies and programmes of previous governments. The commonplace culture of ‘political revenge’ [deshapalana paliganeem] is also interlinked to this lack of transferability. 

Not new problems? 

There is a key factor that we should take stock of – that these problems have somewhat long historical antecedents. Without understanding how they gradually came in to being and got institutionalised, we cannot move towards effective ways of addressing the issues involved. 

The Ceylonese Democracy that the likes of Sir Ivor Jennings celebrated, was, in reality, a hollow colonial experiment. Scholars such as Dr Harshan Kumarasingham have argued that the model democracy of the latter years of the Crown Colony and the early years of the Dominion State of Ceylon was a far cry from what it was often described to be. This democratic experiment was one that strengthened, if not paved new avenues for patronage politics. Some analysts blame the post-1977 political scenario for the present-day ills of clientelist and exploitative politics. While there is a good deal of truth to this analysis, it should not be forgotten that things were far from rosy in the earlier decades. It was in these decades that politics of patronage, clientelism, and a brand of party politics where best practice in governance (such as hand-over policies, a focus on accountability) were of lesser importance, were all entrenched in to the Ceylonese/Sri Lankan body politic. It is this same Dominion State political culture that provided a fertile ground for a brand of dynastic high politics, with certain ‘political families’ claiming ownership of political parties. It was in this backdrop that a highly bureaucratic foreign policy apparatus emerged,  with a diplomatic corps composed of people considered as ‘refined’ and ‘educated’ in accordance with Western colonial standards. As the old guard of English-educated diplomats and bureaucrats [many of whom therefore happened to be extremely well-read and ‘high-performing’ – when their legacies are seen through the prism of the colonial standards of diplomatic management that some of us still uphold] faded away, things further worsened. 

Over the years, successive generations of diplomats have fallen victim to a range of broader socio-political issues, including a system of education that does not help us with our needs as a people. Public administration is faced with the challenge of managing a highly saturated bureaucracy. Public sector bureaucrats often lack the training, and the knowledge base imperatively required to ensure high-quality public policy provision and effective management. The diplomatic corps, for its part, is considerably ill-equipped to handle diplomacy-related 21st century challenges faced by a post-colonial, South Asian, ethno-nationally diverse, multi-religious and multilingual small state geographically positioned in a highly crucial spot in terms of the geostrategic currents in operation in the South and Southeast Asian region. 

Not up to date? 

This is why, as a people, we are often left with the all-too-familiar frustrating feeling that we have administrative and governmental structures that have their place in yesteryear and not in the modern digital age. The world has moved on since the days of the Dominion State [and also since the outburst of post-Cold War liberal internationalism]. In terms of foreign policy formulation, we have not been effective in steering our foreign policy in such a way that we can capitalise upon the emergent ‘Eastphalian’ global dynamics, global dialogues on best practice in governance, and most importantly, emergent multi-pronged approaches all over the world that challenge post- and neo-colonial patterns of governance, public policy, education, economic management and all other spheres. Modern discourses on decolonial governance, developed all around the world from Aotearoa and the Indigenous territories we know as Australia to Turtle Island, as well as the concept of the Pluriversity and decolonial approaches to all aspects of education, are among many developments that Sri Lanka can learn a great deal from, when drafting policies that are relevant to the 21st century. In other words, diplomats of a country like Sri Lanka need a ‘different’, if not non-conventional, dynamic and  a quintessentially ‘decolonial’ knowledge base, which needs to be combined with traditional, Western, if not Westphalian-style diplomatic training. 

The bottom line? 

The bottom line then, is, what drove the Government of Sri Lanka to spend £ 100,000 GBP of taxpayers’ money for Ian Paisley Jr’s luxury holiday is a lot more than the Rajapaksa administration’s absolutely disastrous foreign policy myopia and mismanagement. The Paisley holiday is a symbol of a much broader political and strategic problem, the effects of which are acutely felt at all levels of government, the civil service, the diplomatic service, and also the armed forces. 

What we need, then, is to go beyond the usual critique of  foreign policy shortcomings of successive governments. Instead, we need a more in-depth analysis, delving into the bottom of the crisis, and critically questioning how we manage foreign policy, where our foreign affairs knowledge base comes from, how, and for whose interests it is formulated [or not?], who we send as our top representatives to sensitive duty stations abroad, and how we can move towards public policy, foreign policy and economic policy that focus on the best interests of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans. 

Note – This article previously [and erroneously] stated that at the 2017 General Election, Sinn Féin won 8 out of the 18 Westminster seats in Northern Ireland. The error was corrected on 22 July 2018. 

*The writer (@fremancourt), is a political analyst and international consultant, shuttling between Belfast and Colombo. 

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Latest comments

  • 3
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 4
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      Can you also expose why all these Chinese development projects are only importing Chinese labor and denying our Sri Lankan’s these jobs!? No one questioned the Rajapaksas about this and no one questions this Government for continuing to do so!?
      Development they say but where are the jobs these projects should create for the local workforce!? The Chinese loans go back to China as salaries to imported Chinese workforce. Do other countries do the same when they give us loans or is this the deal Chinese forces on us!? Chinese loans if you hire Chinese workforce!?
      Why does the media avoid this are that needs to be investigated!?

      • 1
        4

        “The Chinese loans go back to China as salaries to imported Chinese workforce. Do other countries do the same when they give us loans or is this the deal Chinese forces on us!?”

        Yes all countries that provide aids expect SLK to spend the money on their staff expatriates and their products. Nothing comes in without strings attached. It is the standard practice. Also expected in return: the Political loyalty to the donor and their policies.

        • 5
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          There is an all party group for Sri Lanka in UK parliament, whose members have been telling lies to cover up atrocities committed on Tamils. Most of them have been treated to paid holidays by Sri Lanka government for their dirty work. It is time that UK government investigates into the perks obtained by all these people from Sri Lanka government including Naseby who has been proved recently to have falsified material to white wash war crimes committed by Sri Lanka security forces. If you notice carefully, the rookie MP of Sri Lanka origin has got frightened and is keeping silence about denying Sri Lanka government human rights record.

          • 2
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            ‘There is an all party group for Sri Lanka in UK parliament, whose members have been telling lies ‘

            You have not mentioned the seasoned liars Tamils for Labour and British Tamil Conservatives etc

            • 2
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              Paul

              “You have not mentioned the seasoned liars Tamils for Labour and British Tamil Conservatives etc”

              You may be right.
              I am sure you have also taken into account those conduits Desmond de Silva, Michael Wolfgang Laurence Morris, Bell Pottinger, Representation Plus, Romanski, Chris Nonis ……… who were happy to promote whatever they were promoting, ….

              • 0
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                Of course. That’s the dirty world of politics.

                • 2
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                  Paul .

                  “Of course. That’s the dirty world of politics.”

                  If so how come you have selective amnesia?
                  It seems often time you remember only Tamil liars and Tamil diaspora not other lying ………….. crooks.

                  Sorry, are you a self hating Jaffna Tamil?

            • 2
              1

              No parliamentarian in all party group for Tamils have been told that they are telling lies or have hidden perks received from anyone. They have been raising atrocities committed by Sri Lanka government on Tamils and had advocated legitimate rights of Tamils to live in safety and dignity in Sri Lanka. It is those who are in all party group for Sri Lanka who were found fault with for covering up crimes or not disclosing what they received from Sri Lanka government for this. Liam Fox was expelled by Cameron, and has come back, but he has learnt a lesson and will not accept any perks from Sri Lanka government or dare to defend Sri Lanka criminals any more. I do not think any other from the group will go to Sri Lanka at SL government expense for fear of losing their seat and ruining their political career.

      • 5
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        Silva I can answer this easily, have had any experience in using Sri Lankan construction labour recently? They are more expensive, inefficient and unreliable as opposed to Chinese labour.

        • 2
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          wannihami

          “They are more expensive, inefficient and unreliable as opposed to Chinese labour.”
          You know they are lazy bums, however they are our lazy bums.
          Any large scale development projects must include local labour, whether they are expensive, inefficient or unreliable. Main objective of such projects is to kick start economy Keynesian solution for unemployment, putting some cash into local economy, …… training local labour, ……………….. creating virtuous circle, not immorally employing China’s increasing criminal population.
          Please read:

          China’s newest export: convicts
          Brahma Chellaney
          Thu 29 Jul 2010
          theguardian.com

          Excerpts:
          ……
          ……
          China has devised a novel strategy to relieve pressure on its overcrowded prisons: employ convicts as labourers on overseas projects in the developing world. [See footnote: Chinese response] The practice has exposed another facet of China’s egregious human rights record which, when it comes to the overseas operations of Chinese companies, includes the government’s failure to enforce its own regulations.

      • 1
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        When Chinese secure projects abroad, they bring their own equipment, machinery and materials. As for workforce, almost all the required people come from China including cooks, barbers, house keepers, etc. Their contribution to the local economy, where the project is being executed, is very minimal. That’s the way they operate all over the developing world!

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          Hismail

          And they don’t conveniently intervene in or question your record on Human Rights.

  • 1
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    I think GTF and BTF are pissed off. British govt is chaning. so, it is some political games. BS. When they left Asia they made those countries very corrupt.

    • 5
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      Jim softy

      “I think GTF and BTF are pissed off. “

      They are p****d off reading your typing.

  • 2
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 7
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 11
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      Jim softy the dimwit

      Keep knocking the keyboard.
      I am still hoping one day I will see the proof of “Infinite monkey theorem”.

  • 15
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    Suspended MP Ian Paisley, Dr Liam Fox, James Wharton and Lord Naseby visited Sri Lanka as the friends of then president Rajapakse at the expense of poor people of Sri Lanka not to seek justice for the victims of the state but to enjoy their lives. They never had any concern for the ordinary man or woman of this island but buried the truths in order to protect the family that ruled disregarding the sufferings and killing of the dissidents. As for Lord Naseby he still defies the contents of the report of the UN Expects.

    None of the above ever said any word about supporting an impartial investigation of the crimes and violations of human rights of the citizens allegedly committed by the then rulers of Sri Lanka.

  • 8
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    Paisley could have taken advantage of the ‘hospitality’ of Sri Lanka government in such situations – by subtle insinuations that he could influence UNHRC decisions on Sri Lanka etc.- for a free holiday.
    We do not have diplomats of the calibre of diplomatic personnel of UK, USA etc.
    How our diplomats are chosen is well known.
    It was reported that Jaliya Wickremasuriya was interviewed on a day when only three members of the Committee on High Posts allied to the MR government were present, and he was chosen as ambassador to USA, and, he was a disaster.

  • 5
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    Paisley’s luxury holiday paid by the GOSL during the Rajapaksha time is very similar may be a bit milder than the Tony Blair’s luxury holiday paid for by the MS/RW government, mild in the sense that Tony Blair is one of those who went to war with Iraq and reduced that country to rubble, on Fake News of WMDs, at least Paisley does not have that kind of horrific human rights record as in the case of Blair.
    Paisleys story came out not because of the high standards of British morality but because of the Brexit vote, similarly MS/RW government is pretty quiet on the Paisley affair because they themselves have been courting Paisley. It is all about politics isn’t it my dear lady whether it is here or there?

    • 8
      2

      wannihami

      You hit the nail on your own head.

      “It is all about politics isn’t it my dear lady whether it is here or there?”

      But then the issue here is no one owns up theft or when caught red handed no one apologizes for his/her act, …………………….. the legal process is so corrupt (since the weeping widow early days) the state functionaries are easily bought out or scared away, at the end of the day thieves and murderers get away scott free.

      Are you one of them benefited from the corrupt judiciary?

    • 2
      2

      wannihami: RW/MS hosting Tony Blair is very very fishy. Lankans pointed this out to RW/MS in no uncertain terms.
      Hosting Ian Paisley, Liam Fox, Lord Naseby and like, were to do with UNHRC. The threat of White-vans deterred protests.

      • 2
        2

        K.Pillai

        Just forget wannihami, Taraki, Helass, somass, ……………………… and their fellow travelers who are determined to drive the country into oblivion as you would have noticed they are drunk on Sinhala/Buddhist fascism.

  • 8
    2

    Not only was MR and his Gov corrupt, he entertained gov officials of the countries going by his own standard.

  • 4
    4

    [edited out]

    Everyone KNOWs how lobbying is done. This is how things are done in USA too. Congressmen and Senators are wined and dined and some even supplied hookers or boys and grand trips. Whether you are white or negro democratic or republican in the USA the lobbyists control those in charge. This is a simple matter that you have raised to garner more attention. Nothing here, move along now..

  • 4
    9

    MR has just followed what Tamil diaspora was doing! Bribing to get the support of those who matter.

    • 2
      2

      Buddhi P Moron Matey
      President of GOSL is no way in comparison to Tamil diaspora.
      How did you compare equally a President and the Diaspora??
      Not a shred . Beg , Borrow , Bribe was and is the name of the game of the past crooked government.
      It’s all coming to light.
      How did Amari HC got into the picture?
      You just blubber something comes to your head.
      Think before you utter your ignorance for all to see.

    • 2
      1

      Buddhi Perera ~ ” MR has just followed what Tamil diaspora was doing! Bribing to get the support of those who matter.”
      MR paid with money from the GoSL coffers – no accounts kept. Tamil diaspora had support from Nobel Peace Laureates (Mandela, Tutu, Wiesel, Jose Ramos-Horta, Jimmy Carter, Ebadi Yunus, Satiyarty, and others) and peace activists like Chomsky, Joan Robinson and others. Only the insane will say that the above named took bribes.

      • 4
        0

        K. Pillai, in your opinion what is a bribe? What is a gift? What is a consultancy fee? What is a lobbyist fee?
        To promote tourism Sri Lanka tourist board invite Travel Journalists from many media outlets, including NYT, or authors of travel blogs, they are given 5 start treatment and they go back home and write flattering articles about Sri Lanka, which attracts many tourists, the money spent is from the treasury, now is that lobbying, bribing, consultation or what? Is it illegals? It is not illegal, it may not be ethical, but not illegals.
        There is no such thing called free lunch, although wannihami gives these opinions for free!

        • 3
          1

          wannihami

          ” in your opinion what is a bribe? What is a gift? What is a consultancy fee? What is a lobbyist fee?”

          Before you get into more complicated issues relating to the clan you ought to teach yourself the established definition of bribery:

          Article 15*
          Bribery of national public officials*
          Each State Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences, when committed intentionally:
          (a) The promise, offering or giving, to a public official, directly or indirectly, of an undue advantage, for the official himself or herself or another person or entity, in order that the official act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her official duties;
          (b) The solicitation or acceptance by a public official, directly or indirectly, of an undue advantage, for the official himself or herself or another person or entity, in order that the official act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her official duties.
          *UN CONVENTION AGAINST CORRUPTION

          Specific examples of bribery include:
          a) Corruption against the rule. A payment or benefit is provided to ensure that the giver or someone connected to him or her receives a benefit to which they are not entitled.
          b) Corruption with the rule. A payment is made to ensure that the giver or someone connected to him or her actually receives a service to which they are lawfully entitled.
          c) Offering or receiving improper gifts, gratuities, favours or commissions. In some countries, public officials commonly accept tips or gratuities in exchange for their services, frequently in violation of relevant codes of conduct. As links always develop between payments and results, such payments become difficult to distinguish from bribery or extortion.

          Continued

        • 1
          1

          wannihami
          Bribery continues:

          d) Bribery to avoid liability for taxes. Officials in revenue collecting agencies, such as tax and customs, may be asked to reduce the amounts demanded or to overlook
          evidence of wrongdoing, including evasion or similar crimes. They may also be
          invited to ignore illegal imports or exports, or to turn a blind eye to illicit transactions, such as money-laundering.
          e) Bribery in support of fraud. Payroll officials may be bribed to participate in abuses such as listing and paying non-existent employees (“ghost workers”).
          f) Bribery to avoid criminal liability. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges or other officials may be bribed to ensure that criminal activities are not properly
          investigated or prosecuted or, if they are prosecuted, to ensure a favourable
          outcome.
          g) Bribery in support of unfair competition for benefits or resources. Public or private sector employees responsible for making contracts for goods or services (public procurement) may be bribed to ensure that contracts are made with the party that is paying the bribe, and on unjustifiably favourable terms. Where the bribe is paid out of the contract proceeds themselves, it is described as a “kickback” or secret commission.
          h) Private sector bribery. Corrupt banking and finance officials are bribed to approve loans that do not meet basic security criteria and are certain to default, causing widespread economic damage to individuals, institutions and economies. Just as bribes can be offered to public officials conducting public procurements, so, too, can bribes pollute procurement transactions wholly within the private sector.

          Continued

        • 1
          1

          wannihami

          i) Bribery to obtain confidential or “inside” information. Employees in the public and private sectors are often bribed to disclose confidential information and protected personal details for a host of commercial reasons.
          j) Influence peddling: Public officials or political or government insiders sell illicitly the access they have to decision-makers. Influence peddling is distinct from legitimate political advocacy or lobbying (see Article 18 of the UN Convention). In some countries, legislators demand bribes in exchange for their votes in favour of particular pieces of legislation.

          wannihami

          The above has been copied and pasted from:
          UNITED NATIONS HANDBOOK ON
          PRACTICAL ANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURES FOR PROSECUTORS
          AND INVESTIGATORS

          Before you attempt to defend the clan, their cronies, your partners in crimes, SLFP SLPP, NFF, …………………….. thieves, robber barons, murderers, ………………… please read the Hand Book. It is better to read it when you are outside than inside.

      • 1
        1

        My Buddhi Perera reply
        Typo – please insert comma between Ebadi and Yunus.
        Sorry I missed Dalai Lama in the Noble Peace Laureates list. Believe Dalai Lama was denied permission to visit Lanka.

  • 3
    1

    A most enlightening exposition of mutual corruption going far beyond what is on offer in the UK media in terms of illuminating this shady and sordid episode .

  • 7
    1

    Why do Sri Lankan Politicians indulge dead beat English politicians like naseby and paisley? Nobody in England takes them seriously. No wonder the Tamil diaspora is winning the propoganda war hands down. Whatever his faults kadirgamar had a knack of tapping senior English Politicians to advance his agenda eg Chris patten who is chancellor of oxford. Unfortunately gl and Rajiv w and others haven’t got that knack. So we are left running after these b grade English MPs. Unp hasn’t got any Oxbridge educated people so it is bankrupt. What do we do? We are losing the momentum as a country.

    • 2
      0

      May well be lack of information. What Rajapakshes did and woud do are well connected with NO KNOWLEDGE.
      Mattala and other projects if they did by making us all debtors for rest of our lives, none of them were studied through proper feasibility programs. Nor whatsoever such work hadever been done before any kind of gigantic project. But those reservouirs that UNP built were well planned and through good experts they managed to complete within shorter period of time.

    • 2
      1

      Lalith , Most of the world leaders are not Oxbridge educated, but GL and Rajive both are, and also Dayan J what little you know.

      • 2
        0

        wannihami

        Be a man, be brave, tell us when did Dayan J visit Ox-bridge, was it with his dad and mum or on his own?

    • 2
      1

      Lord Nasbey was educated at Cambridge, so Lalith isn’t it funny that you mention 3 Oxbridge graduates in your comment and call them dead beats and lacking the knack while lamenting for Oxonians and the Tabs.

      • 2
        0

        wannihami

        Please note Norman Lamont also went to Cambridge and George Osborne went to Oxford? Why is Oxbridge important for little islanders like you?

  • 7
    0

    This is what politics is about in Lanka. A shout course/synopsis of a larger scheme. This what our so called Lankan diplomats like Dayan, Tamara and current diplomats (local and international,Swami, Nambiar …..etc) are up to . I t is all about “net working or wheeling and dealing”, Caucus which are fancy words( glorified) for graft, corruption, bribe and favors in influencing politicians. This is how politicians and diplomats live on others plight/sorrow/misery. They pretend to be like Mandela but are actual crooks.

  • 7
    1

    A tip of an iceberg. Welcome to The World Of Politics In Lanka. After living away for years I realized not just the Lankan politicians who are petty (thieves) so called SUDDHA,S/ Sir/Knights can be bought with a parcel of biriyani/hoppers.

  • 8
    3

    Shady networking and lobbying will not work with countries where there is a large Tamil diaspora. The crooked Suddha will come and enjoy the lavish treatment and all the pampering provided by crooked Sri Lankans. And then he’ll go back and support any decision or resolution that comes up against Sri Lanka because he doesn’t want to lose the sizeable Tamil vote bank. He knows he can rely on the Tamils to vote en bloc as long as he does their bidding. Rajapakses must have been either very stupid or desperate to pull a stunt like this. Only solution for this problem is for more and more Sinhalese to immigrate to these countries and dominate the Tamils numerically over there as well. But that’s not what intrigues me about this story. It’s the writer. She I presume is a UK citizen, because the story is about UK: how its foreign policy can be a target for manipulation by shady lobbyists. And according to her only a UK citizen can write such a story. This was her argument just the other day when she blasted The New York Times for writing about Sri Lanka. Not only that, she also made the more serious charge that the NYT was telling Sri Lanka how to run its foreign policy. Then why is she, being a foreigner herself, telling Sri Lanka how to manage its foreign affairs. It’s none of her business, unless she’s a Sri Lankan citizen or at least a dual citizen. But if she’s a citizen of Sri Lanka only, then she can’t write about the UK – according to her own convoluted logic.

  • 3
    1

    Who cares? This is how politics is conducted all over the world. In any case Ian Paisley Jnr is immensely popular and sure to be re-elected. Don’t forget there is still the Protestant/Catholic divide in Northern Ireland.

    Having said that, and to provide an example of it, here is a Northern Irish story. A good Catholic girl from a very poor family leaves Ireland and travels to London in search of work. Two years later she returns to her village driving a Mercedes and wearing designer clothes

    Her family are shocked. Her old grandmother, who is hard of hearing asks her “Colleen, how have you become so wealthy?”

    Colleen whispers in her Grandmother’s ear “I became a prostitute” The Grandmother roars “What?!!” Colleen whispers again “I became a prostitute”

    “T’ank Chroist fer dat” says her Granny relieved, “I thought you said Protestant”

    • 2
      2

      Paul

      ” This is how politics is conducted all over the world.”

      Very well, lets abolish police, courts, suspend constitution, sack all the staff working for ministry of justice, …………………………….. until the conduct of the rest of the world improves.

      Thanks

      You should share your thoughts with wannihami, Taraki, …………………

      • 0
        1

        Native,

        ‘Very well, lets abolish police, courts, suspend constitution, sack all the staff working for ministry of justice, …………………………….. until the conduct of the rest of the world improves.’

        Why?

        • 2
          0

          Paul

          “Why?”

          You are lamenting the fact that ” This is how politics is conducted all over the world.”.

          Until the general state of political conduct improves why do we need institutions? Waste of money.

          • 0
            0

            Native,

            ‘Until the general state of political conduct improves why do we need institutions? Waste of money.’

            That’s just your rather strange opinion!

  • 1
    2

    New York Times, something more to work on. Ian machang thanks for the memories !!!

    • 2
      1

      Really Steve? Do you think all those favorable travel article s NYT produced about SL was done pro bono? Those travel writers were entrained in Sri Lanka in style, they went back and wrote those, if NYT picks this up I will quote those jolly good reviews of this beautiful island by the NYT travel folks.

  • 4
    2

    Fake patriotism and real motives behind Mahinda & Co are now emerging one by one and you cannot imagine the impact of these on our nation. It is now people to realise the damage done by one family to our nation in our 2500 years history?

  • 2
    1

    Whats wrong with receiving money towards propaganda of good cause. If we let this continue, they will argue Gnanasara also should not be receiving money from Rajapakse. this is ridiculous.

    • 2
      2

      Jim,
      For good cause you don’t receive money. You should provide a free service. Mahinda is safe now but the UNHCR resolution is against the Nation and its people. Do you mean massacring over 100000 is a good cause?

      • 2
        0

        Ajith, Did Tony Blair give free service for a good course in 2015?
        Oh common man you know better, this is lobbying and it goes on every where from Point Pedro to Cape of Good Hope and back

        • 1
          1

          Wannihami,
          Can you find out how much was paid to Tony Blair in 2015 and who paid for that visit? Can you remind me Why Ian paisley was punished and why not Tony Bliar not punished? Can you please also find out how much altogether paid for lobbying under Mahinda government and under this govt?

  • 2
    2

    It is possible Nosebee must also have been funded by MR and his gang

    • 1
      0

      Probably Bando, but for sure Tony Blair in 2015 must have been funded by the Yahapalas

  • 1
    0

    No one talks of our then “Foreign Affairs Expert” – the strongest “Deal Maker” of the then President Mahinda Rajapakse, who INITIATED and ORGANIZED this “Luxury Holiday” to this British MP and Family. He was MUCH TALKED of then and after January 9th 2015; but NOW FORGOTTEN (perhaps Pardoned) Sajin Vas Gunawardane. – that “Monitoring Minister” of Foreign Affairs, even the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. G.L Pieris , addressed him “SIR”. He, this Sajin was taken to the meeting of the UNHRC by no lesser person than the Secretary to the ex President – Mr. Lalith Weeratunga who also is slated to rot in prison. Do you all remember this “Monitoring Minister” seated next to our then President MR at the meeting with Mr. Narendrasing Modi and next to him was seated, (in third position) the then Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris. All these “Foreign Deals” were placed “In- Charge” of this “ROUGE” “Monitoring Minister” – Sajin Vas Gunawardene, who is presently another “DARLING BOY” of the YAHAPALANAYA Regime of “MY3 & RW”. HAIL THEE SAJIN.

    • 1
      1

      Douglas,
      What about Dayan? I am sure he must be good at deal making.

    • 1
      0

      Thank you Douglas matey, you are spot on.

      • 1
        0

        wannihami

        “Thank you Douglas matey, you are spot on.”

        Why is Douglas matey spot on?
        Is it because Douglas matey says “Sajin Vas Gunawardene, who is presently another “DARLING BOY” of the YAHAPALANAYA Regime of “MY3 & RW”?

        Sajin Vas took his job very seriously. He was tough on his “subjects” for example he slapped High Commissioner some years ago. I don’t know why he didn’t sue Sajin. What a brilliant foreign office.

  • 2
    3

    Thanks Dr.Chamindra.
    This appeared in the Ceylon Daily News[CDN] as headlines on 20th July, though not with such details.
    A mere mea culpa statement? This man Ian Paisley should be sacked! I agree with Sinn-Fein.
    The go-between for this whole sordid affair was Sajin Vass Gunawardena – The de-facto Minister of Foreign affairs of the MaRa Regime.G.L. Peiris of-course was the de-jure Minister.
    Bribery and Corruption at the highest levels!
    Standards Commitee of the House of Commons? This must be Double Dutch for MaRa!

    • 1
      1

      Plato

      This is not the end of the story perhaps of the beginning of something else.
      Please delve deep into Brexit, Northern Ireland Borders, Northern Ireland a year without a government, recent violence in Londonderry, attack on Gerry Adam’s hous/car ………………………. and the British government is held to ransom by Democratic Unionist Party.

  • 1
    1

    Chamindra Weerawardhana updated us on the comparatively unknown Northern Ireland (NI) and Ian Paisley Jr. in particular.
    Ireland was the first country to break out of the British colonies. Northern Ireland (part of Ireland) chose to remain with Britain. There was this infamous NI civil war for unification – funded by the Diaspora in US. Tony Blair won with US withdrawing support to the war but in return he sold his soul to Bush in the Iraq war.
    .
    A firebrand against reunification was the NI politician Ian Paisley Sr. Ian Paisley Jr. inherited the dynastic ‘Paisley’ mantle but was another ‘dead loss’ like the sons of Gadaphi, Sadam, Mugabe, son of Thatcher and a whole lot of other inheritees.

  • 1
    1

    So mates shall we now talk about why and how Tony boy was here in 2015. and before.

    • 1
      1

      wannihami

      “So mates shall we now talk about why and how Tony boy was here in 2015. and before.”

      When was his travel arrangements made? Usually in the previous year. He was in Sri Lanka mid August 2015. He was with his wife and children, it was supposed to be a family vacation.

      What else do you want to talk about his trip?
      Do you really want to know the colour of her bikini?

  • 2
    0

    Few words on Ian Paisley Jr.
    British MPs can claim expenses to be refunded. Ian is among the top ten as far as the amount claimed goes. In 2014/2015 it was GBP227,000/-
    .
    Ian is a risk taker. He took risks lobbying for companies. When the SL trips were offered they were too good to decline. His friend Liam Fox told him all about it. So Ian took the offer in spite of the possible backlash of accepting hospitality from a regime under UN radar for human rights abuses.
    The gamble paid off. The House of Commons let him off with a 30 days suspension “for breaking the Commons rule banning paid advocacy”. This is better than having to apply for 30 days leave!
    Please note that Commons found Ian indulged in paid advocacy.

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