- Former Govt. allegedly paid Rs. 45 m in trips for UK MP Ian Paisley in 2013
- UK MP Ian Paisley visited SL on holidays paid for by Rajapaksa Govt.
- UK MP faces suspension from British House of Commons
By Skandha Gunasekara
The JVP in Parliament yesterday charged that an MP of the British Parliament had been paid Rs. 45 million to promote Sri Lanka’s image in the United Kingdom, and called for an investigation to determine who in the former Government was responsible.
“UK MP Ian Paisley has been suspended for 30 days by the British Parliament for being a paid advocate for the Sri Lankan Government in 2013,” JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake alleged yesterday.
The MP made these remarks while taking part in yesterday’s adjournment debate on the findings of the recent New York Times article on alleged Chinese funding for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2015 presidential election campaign.
MP Rathnayake said that a probe carried out by the House of Commons Standards Committee had revealed that UK MP Paisley had come on vacations to Sri Lanka paid by the Lankan Government in return for his advocacy and lobbying work to promote Sri Lanka’s image.
“He has been paid Rs. 45 million (GBP 200,000) in 2013 by the Rajapaksa Government. It is now our duty to find out who was responsible for this on our end,” MP Rathnayake said, calling on the Government to conduct an investigation to ascertain those who were accountable.
Furthermore, he said that those from the Rajapaksa family in Parliament have failed to keep their promises of challenging the Government.
“During the vote on the sale of the Hambantota Port to China, the Rajapaksa Parliamentarians abstained from voting. They criticise this Government for that deal but could not even vote against in Parliament. Today we are debating this crucial New York Times report and its allegations against former President Rajapaksa, but the former President is not even in Parliament to give a response. In fact, none of the Rajapaksa Parliamentarians are present in the House today,” he said, while pointing out that similarly former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa challenges the Government to file court proceedings against him only to seek injunctions and appeals thereafter.
Meanwhile, British media reported that Paisley faces a suspension of 30 days from sitting in the House of Commons for failing to disclose his trips by writing to former British Prime Minister David Cameron. The 30-day suspension, if confirmed by a Commons vote, is thought to be the longest period any MP has been barred from the Commons for 15 years, the Independent newspaper said.