Labour MP Simon Danczuk 'pulled out of China trip after being told he would have to fly economy'

The trip was cancelled after Mr Danczuk's withdrawal

Jon Stone@joncstone
Tuesday 10 November 2015 17:30
Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk
Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk

Labour MP Simon Danczuk pulled out of a parliamentary visit to China after being told he would have to fly economy class, it has been reported.

The Evening Standard newspaper says the Rochdale Member of Parliament withdrew from the fact-finding delegation after a request to upgrade his seat was turned down.

Mr Danczuk told the newspaper that the claims were “nonsense”.

The trip, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on China, was subsequently cancelled because Mr Danczuk’s withdrawal made the visit unviable, the group’s chair said.

Conservative MP Richard Graham said the state of affairs was “disappointing”.

“If members want to upgrade to business class at their own costs, they are welcome to do so,” he told the Standard.

But Mr Danczuk said: “If the details had been communicated more clearly earlier on then I would have made it clear I was unable to attend. As I only reviewed the full itinerary a few days before travel, I was forced to pull out at the last minute. Any suggestion that I am responsible for the cancellation of the trip is nonsense.”

A number of MPs went on a previous APPG China trip to China in September with sponsorship from John Swire & Sons, HSBC, City of London, Cambridge Assessment, and Arup.

In that case, individual MPs each recorded £1,872 donations in the form of flights, £404 for accommodation, £179 for domestic transport, £205 in hospitality expenses, £322 in “other” expenses.

The total donations recorded for each MP was just under £3,000 each, according to the House of Commons register of interests.

The stated purpose of that visit was to “maintain and strengthen relations between the UK Parliament and the National People’s Congress of China; to learn about and support British businesses operating in China; and to deepen the knowledge and understanding of parliamentarians of China”.

The Government has gone out of its way to court Chinese investment in the UK, culminating in a visit by the country’s president Xi Jinping last month.

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