South Asia and Beyond

Labour Questions Boris Johnson’s Venezuela Trip

 Labour Questions Boris Johnson’s Venezuela Trip

Boris Johnson

The Labour Party has asked the government to answer questions on “potentially serious impropriety” by Boris Johnson after it emerged that the former PM met the Venezuelan president in his role as a consultant for a hedge fund.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, a member of the Labour Party in a letter to Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister said that there were concerns that Johnson may have breached the ministerial code.

Under the code, ministers have to seek the advice of the advisory committee on business over any appointments they take up within two years of leaving office.

Johnson, who quit as prime minister in September 2022, held discussions with Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan president, in early February. The trip was arranged by Merlyn Advisors, a London-based hedge fund.

The Sunday Times had reported how Johnson broke off from a family holiday in the Dominican Republic to meet Maduro.

A source close to Johnson told The Guardian that the former PM had not flouted any rules and did not need to take permission.

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In the letter Thomas-Symonds wrote, “Mr Johnson’s repeated failure to abide by the ministerial code demonstrates his lack of respect and regard for standards in public life, and the essential safeguards in place to protect the public interest,” as reported by the Guardian.

The foreign office back then had said that Boris Johnson had visited in a personal capacity and was not acting on behalf of the United Kingdom government.

The UK along with other Western countries did not accept the legitimacy of Maduro’s elections in 2018, which was boycotted by the opposition.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s main opposition coalition has managed to register a candidate for July’s presidential election after its first two nominees were blocked.

The Unitary Platform (PUD) said it was able to inscribe ex-diplomat Edmundo González after the deadline for registrations was extended.