MP's free trip to Mediterranean tax haven was to 'strengthen relations'

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell accepted a free trip to the tiny Mediterranean tax haven of San Marino last month, to represent the UK government in a bid to strengthen bilateral relations - Credit: John Hercock

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell accepted a free trip to a Mediterranean tax haven in October, where he and a member of staff ate £1,000 worth of food in a week, according to government records.

The trip was paid for by the Republic of San Marino - a microstate enclaved by Italy and used as a base by wealthy Italians and businesses due to its low tax rates.

Mr Rosindell declared in the MPs’ register of financial interests that he visited Italy and San Marino from October 8 - 15.

The MP chairs an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) set up last year to “strengthen bilateral relations” with the republic - whose population is roughly one-seventh of Havering’s - as Brexit loomed.

San Marino paid £1,038 for Mr Rosindell and a staff member’s flights, £2,000 for accommodation, £400 for transport and £1,000 for meals.

Mr Rosindell’s office said the APPG had “gladly accepted the invitation from the San Marino government” and attended "many meetings with officials”.

A spokesman added that such visits were "intrinsic to the international relations work of any parliament”.

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“These meetings were necessary to understand issues which were of concern to them, such as the restrictions around international travel because of their use of the Sputnik vaccine,” the spokesman said.

“Andrew Rosindell MP was proud to have been asked to lead the delegation, which was the first ever from the UK Parliament to the Republic of San Marino.”

The register of interests also showed that in August, Mr Rosindell declared a donation in kind from the Romford Conservative Support Club, for £7,330.40 spent on a celebration marking his 20th year as an MP.

The club, registered at Mr Rosindell’s office, has previously donated more than £40,000 to the MP.

As an “unincorporated association”, Mr Rosindell can accept its donations whilst keeping the names of its own donors secret.

Mr Rosindell’s office said all donations “are declared properly in accordance with the rules and procedures”.

Asked how residents could join the club, his office did not answer.

A spokesman said: “Anyone who wishes to attend future events or join the club is welcome to do so, provided they demonstrate genuine support for our MP and the Conservative Party.”

For more, read:

Why Romford MP is allowed to keep names of donors secret

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