British politicians were allegedly met by sex workers at their hotel during a foreign state visit, with concerns that such behavior leaves them open to blackmail.
“The bad behavior is quite astonishing,” a senior government source told British newspaper The Times. “If a hostile state is lucky they may get photos, and they will make sure they know exactly what has happened. And then they might get something from that.”
The sex worker visit may have happened without the Members of Parliament (MPs) knowing in advance, The Times noted.
A separate source also complained to The Times that MP visits to authoritarian countries gave leaders in those countries some legitimacy as “world statesmen with international friends.”
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The trips result from all-party parliamentary groups (APPG), which allow members of parliament – regardless of party affiliation – to campaign on specific topics, which often leads to visits to foreign states. The groups have no formal system for deciding their membership and usually do not have dedicated work staff.
However, the APPG trips have connected to a number of other allegations, including a claim that one Labour MP prefers “Russian girls” and that MPs have attended parties during which younger people were offered for sex.
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One former Conservative MP allegedly hired a sex worker while in China, which led to jokes that he had “a bouquet of flowers sent to the room.” Another former Conservative MP asked about the nearest brothel during a visit to Southeast Asia.
Politico earlier this month investigated the APPG trips and labeled them as opportunities for MPs to indulge in “sex tourism.”
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One MP would allegedly stay behind after the trips ended to pursue an “interest in [local] women,” particularly “pretty young girls.”
A number of MPs stressed that some of the attendees did quietly and honestly pursue the interest of the trips, but others used it as an outlet for recreational purposes, Politico reported.
A former parliamentarian said the government of one country held “deep frustrations” over visiting MPs “boorish behavior.” “They drink and behave badly and arrogantly. They’re patronizing to fellow politicians, never mind the people around them, the people from [the host country] and unfortunately waiting staff.”
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A standards committee in the House of Commons called for greater regulation and transparency of funding for APPGs, calling for a reduction in the number of groups and arguing the current scale “makes improper access and influence more likely.”