My oh my, while researching the background to Flying Lion Ltd/Con Air 1, I appear to have stumbled across something very interesting.
One the Electoral Commission’s website, the entry on register of donations to regulated donees for a very senior Conservative politician includes three overseas visits where the cost of the flights was met by Flying Lion Limited.
These visits were:
3-4 April 2006 – A two day visit to the Sudan to review the situation in Darfur.
3-8 September 2006 – A five day visit to China and Kazahkstan, meeting representatives of both governments.
17-19 June 2007 – A two day visit to Syria, again to meet government representatives.
But, hold on a second. Consulting the parliamentary register of member’s interests for the same politician, what do find?
Only that from the 15-17th May 2006, this same politician made a visit to Israel and Jordan, staying for at least part of the visit at the British Ambassador’s residence in Amman, with the cost of the flights being met by Flying Lion Ltd.
And, from 28th March to 3 April 2007, this politician also visited – in turn – Belize, Brazil, the Falkland Islands, Iceland, Panama, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. flight provided, again, by Flying Lion Ltd.
And, again, from 6th-7th December 2006, our mystery Tory was in Pakistan, and the outward flight cost was met by Flying Lion Limited.
And, from the 8th-12th December, they were in Bahrain to attend the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Manama Conference – flights and accomodation provided by the IISS (and recorded on the Electoral Commission website)… but not the flight from Pakistan to Bahrain, courtesy of Flying Lion Ltd, which is on the register of interests but not the Electoral Commission’s register.
Now under PPERA, a regulated donee, such as the politician in question, has – by law – 30 days from the date on which the donation is accepted to file a report of the donation with the Electoral Commission, which means that there are currently four such reports overdue, one of which is something like 16 months late.
And failure to submit a report, in the proper format at the proper time is an offence punishable – potentially – by forfeiture of up to the full value of the donation.
Okay, time to end the suspense and give you the name of our mystery politician.
Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, COME ON DOWN!
And here’s the evidence.
1) Hague’s personal entry on the Electoral Commission’s website.
2) Hague’s entry on the register of member’s interests, as provided by the excellent They Work For You.