Freebies from the Saudi Arabian government

Boris Johnson accepted a £14,000 all-expenses-paid trip from the Saudi Arabian government. [1] And he’s not alone – a total of 38 MPs have received freebies from the regime over the past five years. [2]

MPs visiting other countries can be a useful way of building international understanding. But when the government footing the bill are believed to have ordered the murder of a journalist and are involved in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, it’s completely unacceptable. [3]

If any of our MPs now accept freebies while the circumstances around the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi go unsolved, it gives the Saudi Arabian government legitimacy: it says that it’s OK for their actions to go on.

Boris Johnson’s “all expenses paid” trip has been splashed across the news today. [4] But you can bet the MPs involved in these trips will be hoping that the fuss just goes away. That’s where we come in.

If thousands of us sign an open letter to MPs, asking them not to take any freebies from the Saudi Arabian government, they’ll hear us. They’ll know that we expect them to do the right thing and hold back on giving the Saudi government legitimacy, while the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is unresolved.

Will you add your name? You can read the text of the open letter below.

https://38d.gs/dontadf587
 

To all Members of Parliament,

I am calling on you to refuse “freebies”, hospitality or gifts of any sort from the Saudi Arabian government until all those involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are brought to justice.

Our country should not be cosying up to this repressive regime who are believed to have ordered the murder of a journalist and are involved in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Please refuse any trips they might offer you.

Signed, 38 Degrees members

 

https://38d.gs/dontadf587

P.S. Last week thousands of 38 Degrees-ers joined campaigners up and down the country calling on the government to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. [5] And now we’re asking our MPs to take a stand against accepting freebies. Whilst this may not be enough to change everything, it is an important step in the right direction. It could make sure our MPs can take a principled stand until all those involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are brought to justice. Please sign the open letter to all our MPs here: https://38d.gs/haltacb592

NOTES:
[1] Daily Mail: Boris Johnson took all-expenses-paid trip costing £14,000 to Saudi Arabia just days before brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6339641/Boris-Johnson-went-Saudi-Arabia-days-Jamal-Khashoggi-murder.html
The Guardian: Saudi Arabia pays UK firms millions to boost image:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/19/saudi-arabia-pays-uk-firms-millions-to-boost-image
The Mirror: The British MPs who have accepted thousands of pounds worth of benefits from Saudi Arabia:
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/british-mps-who-accepted-thousands-13444404
[2] Daily Mail: Boris Johnson took all-expenses-paid trip costing £14,000 to Saudi Arabia just days before brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6339641/Boris-Johnson-went-Saudi-Arabia-days-Jamal-Khashoggi-murder.html
[3] The Telegraph (paywall): Jamal Khashoggi’s ‘ferocious’ murder was planned by Saudi officials days before his death, says Erdogan:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/23/turkey-promises-reveal-naked-truth-khashoggi-murder-saudi-arabia1/
The Independent: ‘Khashoggi’s death was the final straw’: Saudi’s crown prince faces mounting backlash over Istanbul consulate killing:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-mbs-turkey-consulate-istanbul-death-murder-latest-edited-a8597171.html
BBC: Yemen war: US presses Saudi Arabia to agree ceasefire:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46040789
[4] See note 1
[5] 38 Degrees: Open letter to Jeremy Hunt:
https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/4557