Nov 5, 2021: Boris Johnson has admitted to getting a free holiday at a luxurious Spanish villa linked to Zac Goldsmith, a former MP who was given his peerage and a job by the prime minister.
The latest update to the Ministerial Interest Register reveals that a one-week stay by Johnson at Marbella property in October was funded by the Goldsmith family. It did not say how much the holiday cost, but it is likely to be announced separately in the MPs’ interests register. The property is sold for rent online, reportedly for 25,000 per week.
The register states: “The Prime Minister has a long-standing personal friendship with the Goldsmith family, and as such, in October 2021, he lived in a holiday home in southern Spain, provided by Goldsmiths for free. Lord Goldsmith is a minister of the Crown, the arrangement has been announced”
No. 10 has previously declined to answer the question of whether there could be a perceived conflict of interest, given that Johnson awarded Goldsmith his peerage after the latter lost his Richmond seat in 2019, and made him the Minister of Environment hence allowing him to continue his work.
After the holiday, the Guardian revealed that documents showed that the luxurious Goldsmith Family Villa had an obscure offshore structure based in several tax havens.
The documents suggested that the minister and his family owned the property through a Maltese company with companies in the Turkish and Caucasus Islands, and that it was managed by a wealth-planning firm in Switzerland. In a statement at the time, a Goldsmith spokesman said he had “followed the ministerial interests set out in the ministerial code”. He added: “Their interests have been reviewed by the Office of the Cabinet and the Independent Adviser to the Prime Minister on Ministerial Interests. Other relevant interests have been properly reported in accordance with the House of Lords Code of Conduct.”
Johnson took an extraordinary leave of absence from parliament after the party conference season, and No. 10 had to defend his decision to go abroad during the energy and supply chain crisis.
At the time, No 10 refused to confirm that Goldsmith was covering the cost of the holiday in Marbella or say how the prime minister had travelled to Spain with his family.
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