British MPs on a foreign trip were met by sex workers at their hotel, a report has claimed. The claim, which has sparked outrage on social media, has also increased concern that politicians are leaving themselves exposed to blackmail.
Senior figures in Whitehall are concerned that MPs and peers who take part in “sex and heavy drinking” on foreign visits are making themselves and the British Government vulnerable.
A top Government source told The Times: “The bad behavior is quite astonishing.
“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 report looks set to raise questions about the all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs), an unofficial cross-party body of MPs and peers that campaign on certain topics.
There are over 700 APPGs and more than 130 of them focus on specific countries and arrange all-expenses-paid trips.
It has been claimed that on one AAPG trip to a dictatorship, MPs were met by prostitutes in their hotel rooms, although there is no suggestion that the MPs were aware of this in advance.
On another visit to a major ally of Britain, one MP was reportedly disciplined for repeatedly propositioning female interns who were organizing the tour.
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Earlier this month, an investigation by Politico revealed a number of allegations of misconduct by MPs on APPG trips.
It has even been alleged that a former Tory MP visited a country in Southeast Asia and asked where the nearest brothel was.
It was also reported that a former minister would stay behind after official trips in order to pursue his “interest in women”.
In another report, it was claimed that a Labor MP was fond of “Russian girls”, while officials from British Overseas Territories alleged that MPs had attended parties at which young men and women were “supplied” for sex.
Foreign trips have been justified by MPs who claim they are a valuable part of their work as backbenchers, with their diaries filled with political and cultural events.
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This year the Commons Standards Committee called for tighter regulation of APPGs.
This came after its report, which did not focus on the behavior of MPs on foreign trips, stated that the number of APPGs should be limited as the range of groups “makes improper access and influence more likely”.
Feminist campaigner Sophie Walker tweeted about the report in The Times, calling the behavior “abuse of vulnerable women”.
Ms Walker wrote: “This isn’t ‘misbehaving’; this isn’t about men being “vulnerable”.
“This is the abuse of vulnerable women by men who see female = fodder, who prop up a political system rotten to the core and intuitively incapable of making fair laws for women.”
Other outraged Twitter users branded Parliament’s lower chamber the “House of Sleaze” for bringing Britain “back to the 70s”.