Boris Johnson faced serious questions last night over who paid for his New Year holiday in the Caribbean.
The Prime Minister declared that his week-long stay in a villa on Mustique with his partner Carrie Symonds was a £15,000 gift from a wealthy businessman.
On the latest Commons register of interests, published yesterday, he listed the island trip as a ‘benefit in kind’ with the name of the donor put as ‘Mr David Ross’.
Mr Johnson’s entry said: ‘Accommodation for a private holiday for my partner and me, value £15,000.’
The Prime Minister declared that his week-long stay in a villa on Mustique with his partner Carrie Symonds was a £15,000 gift from a wealthy businessman
But last night Mr Ross – a Tory donor who co-founded the Carphone Warehouse chain – insisted he was not the owner of the villa and had not paid for Mr Johnson’s stay.
Labour asked the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to launch an investigation to find out who was behind the donation.
Shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett said: ‘Boris Johnson must come clean about who has paid for his luxury trip.
‘If he fails to do so, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards should step in and make him fess up.
‘The public deserves to know who is paying for their Prime Minister’s jaunts.’
Mr Ross said last night that while Mr Johnson had asked him for help finding accommodation on Mustique, he had not provided the villa.
On the latest Commons register of interests he listed the island trip as a ‘benefit in kind’ with the name of the donor put as ‘Mr David Ross’ (Carrie pictured during the holiday)
A spokesman for the businessman said: ‘Boris Johnson did not stay in David Ross’s house.
‘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, but David Ross did not pay any monies whatsoever for this.’
Asked about Mr Johnson’s declaration, the spokesman said: ‘I believe it is a mistake.’
He added that Mr Ross had ‘not put his hand in his pocket whatsoever and can obviously prove that – [he] most definitely did not pay anything and it was not his house.
‘It was a house that was rented but the people could not turn up, so Boris Johnson got the use of it.’
Downing Street sources insisted last night that Mr Johnson’s holiday had been properly declared. They claimed that Mr Ross was responsible for the gift as he had arranged the stay
It is understood that Mr Ross had other guests staying at his own house on the island during Mr Johnson’s stay.
Downing Street sources insisted last night that Mr Johnson’s holiday had been properly declared.
Mr Johnson’s entry said: ‘Accommodation for a private holiday for my partner and me’
They claimed that Mr Ross was responsible for the gift as he had arranged the stay.
The private holiday lasted from December 26 to January 5, according to the entry in the register.
Mr Johnson faced criticism at the time for not returning to the UK sooner, after the US killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani raised tensions in the Middle East.
It is thought that Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds spent their time on the island staying in a villa that has three staff, including its own chef.
The property, set in lush woodland, boasts four-poster beds, open-air terraces and living quarters set around a pool.
Under Commons rules, MPs must declare gifts and hospitality they receive within 28 days on the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, which is maintained by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
Serious breaches of the rules can lead to MPs being suspended.
Mr Ross said last night that while Mr Johnson had asked him for help finding accommodation on Mustique, he had not provided the villa (pictured)
In 2018, DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr was kicked out for 30 sitting days after he failed to declare two family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.
Mr Ross has been a long-term donor to the Conservatives, giving £250,000 to the party in the final three weeks of last year’s general election campaign.
Mr Johnson was the highest earning MP in the last parliament, raking in almost £800,000 mostly through speeches and articles.
No 10 said last night: ‘All transparency requirements have been followed, as set out in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.’
- Theresa May earned £96,000 for a speech at the accountancy firm PwC, it emerged last night.
£650m entrepreneur mired in controversy
By Neil Sears for The Daily Mail
Mobile phone mogul David Ross is one of the country’s richest men – and he likes sharing his wealth with the Tory party.
He made a fortune after creating the Carphone Warehouse chain in 1989 with an old friend from Uppingham boarding school.
Mr Ross, 54, was reported last year to be worth £668million, making him Britain’s 208th richest person.
The Grimsby-born playboy entrepreneur has made a point of donating large amounts to the Conservative Party and in particular its senior figures.
Mobile phone mogul David Ross (right in 2011) is one of the country’s richest men – and he likes sharing his wealth with the Tory party
In 2006 he paid for David Cameron, then leader of the Opposition, to be flown to Germany and back for a World Cup match.
And in 2009 he lent the future prime minister his private helicopter for a return flight to West Yorkshire.
He was also closely connected with Boris Johnson when he was London mayor and was given an advisory role in preparations for the 2012 Olympics. But Mr Ross, pictured, ended up being distanced by his political friends for a time after an unfortunate incident.
In 2008 he was accused of breaking company rules by using £200million of his shares in Carphone Warehouse, National Express, Big Yellow and Cosalt to secure a loan for an ill-advised property investment. He did so without telling fellow board members and there was talk of a criminal prosecution.
In 2008 he was accused of breaking company rules by using £200million of his shares in Carphone Warehouse, National Express, Big Yellow and Cosalt to secure a loan for an ill-advised property investment (file image)
Mr Ross denied wilful rule-breaking, but admitted the timing was ‘unfortunate’.
The Financial Services Authority eventually accepted that its code of conduct may have been too vague.
Yet Mr Ross was damaged and had to resign from five roles including his board positions at Carphone Warehouse and National Express.
Mr Ross’s fortune has helped him afford a villa on Mustique, and to socialise not only with Tory leaders but also royals including Prince William and Princess Beatrice, as well as Pippa Middleton.
He has a son by his former girlfriend Shelley Ross, a ballerina-turned-pole dancer.
He chairs an academy chain, the David Ross Education Trust, encompassing 30 schools.