Businessman David Ross has confirmed he “facilitated” accommodation for Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds’ £15,000 new year trip to the Caribbean.
The prime minister had faced calls to “come clean” over who paid for the luxury break on the island of Mustique after Ross, who Johnson said was responsible, denied funding the trip.
Downing Street insisted all “transparency requirements” had been followed when Johnson declared the break officially, but question marks over who actually footed the bill remained.
But following speculation, Ross’s spokesman said: “Following media reports I would like to provide further explanation of the benefit in kind Mr Ross provided to Mr Johnson.
“Mr Ross facilitated accommodation for Mr Johnson on Mustique valued at £15,000.
“Therefore this is a benefit in kind from Mr Ross to Mr Johnson, and Mr Johnson’s declaration to the House of Commons is correct.”
Johnson and Symonds took the post-general election break in St Vincent and the Grenadines between Boxing Day and 5 January.
Recording the trip in the Commons’ register of members’ interests, Johnson said it was paid for by Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross, but the tycoon has since denied funding the luxury break.
Earlier in the day the PM had been urged to reveal who funded the trip, or face a parliamentary inquiry.
Jon Trickett, Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister, 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.”
In a declaration published on Wednesday, Johnson announced in the MPs’ register that he had accepted “accommodation for a private holiday for my partner and me, value £15,000” and named Ross as the financial provider.
But a spokesman for the entrepreneur told the Daily Mail that Ross had called the company which runs the villas on the island and found somebody had dropped out so Johnson got use of the villa but Ross “did not pay any monies whatsoever for this”.
Labour's @jon_trickett is asking Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to launch investigation to find out who was behind mystery donation— John Stevens (@johnestevens) February 12, 2020
A Number 10 spokeswoman said: “All transparency requirements have been followed, as set out in the register of members’ financial interests.”
The PM faced criticism at the time of his break for failing to cut his festive break short after the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by a US air strike on 3 January.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry accused him of “sunning himself” while leaving cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill to chair three emergency Cobra meetings amid growing tensions following the killing.
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