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British MP suspended for defending Sri Lankan gov't while not declaring holiday gifts
By: Barfi Culture Team
Published: 26th July 2018

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland has suspended an MP after he admitted receiving and not declaring over £50k worth of hospitality from the Sri Lankan government.

He then went on to defend the Sri Lankan government from accusations of human rights abuses.

So far MPs have voted merely to suspend him for 30 sitting days, but British Tamils say he is "clearly not fit" to be an MP and must step down immediately.

The DUP is allied to the UK Conservative party and votes along with Theresa May.

Thusiyan Nandakumar, who is on the editorial board of the Tamil Guardian, told Barfi Culture: "As a British parliamentarian, he assisted a brutal regime which committed mass atrocities against its citizens and aided it in deflecting international calls for justice for violations of international humanitarian law - all for the sake of a free holiday."

"This is not a one-off event either," he added. "Consecutive Sri Lankan governments have long showered foreign parliamentarians and ambassadors with lavish holidays in exchange for pro-Sri Lankan lobbying on an international stage. Just this week, a Sri Lankan politician said there are at least 5 more British MPs who were courted by the government in a similar fashion to Mr Paisley."

Ian Paisely MP was also found to have breached rules on paid advocacy when he earlier lobbied David Cameron against a UN resolution criticising Sri Lanka.

Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill said: "They (the DUP) need to be clear whether they believe it was acceptable for one of their MPs to be actively lobbying on behalf of a regime that carried out mass murder, war crimes and gross human rights abuses."

Sinn Fein also said the suspension does not go far enough. "He needs to resign or be compelled to resign... given Ian Paisley’s stated intention to contest any by-election, they need to come out and state whether he will do so on a DUP ticket."

"These British MPs are worse"


This isn't the first time such a scandal has come out of Sri Lanka.

In 2011 the Tory minister Liam Fox was also found to have received thousands of pounds worth of trips to and from Colombo.

In 2015 the country's Foreign Minister revealed the Sri Lankan embassy in the US spent money on beef steaks, cognac and pornography.

"There are at least five other British MP’s who similarly were bribed by the Rajapaksa regime to make statements supportive of it," claimed UNP MP Mujibar Rahuman to the Tamil Guardian, in response to Ian Paisely's supension.

"We thought these British MPs in tie and coat were honest respectable people, but they are worse."


Article published on 26th July 2018 in the Politics section




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