The parliamentary sleaze watchdog is set to probe the mystery donor behind Boris Johnson’s freebie Caribbean holiday after no one confessed to paying for it.
The Prime Minister declared a £15,000 ‘benefit’ for his luxury New Year stay on Mustique with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds – but by last night, nobody had admitted giving the gift.
Under parliamentary rules, MPs must identify people who have done them financial favours. Mr Johnson named businessman David Ross for providing the gift. Mr Ross denied paying anything. The Daily Mail then tracked down the American owners of the magnificent villa, who said they received payment for the rental, but did not say from whom or how much.
Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, was last night ready to launch an investigation and formally request information from both Mr Johnson and Mr Ross. If it is judged to be a misleading entry in the register, Mr Johnson could face sanctions such as a public apology and being made to repay the money. Mr Johnson, 55, and Miss Symonds, 31, spent ten days relaxing at Indigo, a three-bedroom villa nestled in the hillside of the Caribbean island.
In the New Year season, the house, which comes with its own chef, housekeeper and gardener, was advertised at $27,000 per week. A ten-day stay would have cost $38,500 (£29,500). The owners – banking heir Sarah Richardson, 71, and her husband Craig, 72 – said the stay was arranged by the island’s management authority the Mustique Company. The authority has not commented.
It was yesterday suggested Tory donor Mr Ross had been leant on by No10 to state he ‘facilitated’ the trip. His spokesman yesterday declined to comment. The Parliamentary standards commissioner’s office said it was standard practice not to confirm or deny who it is investigating.
- Mr Johnson will borrow Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s 115-room grace-and-favour mansion in Kent this weekend as his residence, Chequers, undergoes repairs.