Bahrain Mirror: British MPs slammed a Conservative MP, Jack Lopresti, for sponsoring and hosting a parliamentary event for the Bahraini government in the House of Commons aiming at whitewashing its human rights record that was met with wide criticism. Lopresti is also accused of receiving thousands of pounds' worth of funding for foreign trips from the repressive Gulf kingdom's rulers.
Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said: "MPs must be squeaky clean and above any suspicion when it comes to dealings with foreign governments, particularly those with poor human rights records."
He told BuzzFeed News on Saturday (July 9, 2016) that "Sponsoring an vent in parliament for the Bahrain government, which has paid for expensive foreign trips for that MP to that country, whilst perfectly legal, fails the Persil test."
For his part, Labour MP Helen Goodman said: "Every day we hear of new human rights violations in Bahrain. Jack Lopresti should be asking the Bahraini ambassador some very hard questions - instead he is being wooed by paid for trips and promoting the repressive Bahraini state in the House of Commons."
"Over the last two years, Lopresti has received a total of £7,803 from Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to participate in the IISS Manama," according to BuzzFeed.
However, Lopresti defended the event, telling BuzzFeed News: "I will be delighted to welcome Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, the Bahraini ambassador, to the House of Commons on Monday to celebrate the bicentenary of Bahraini-UK relations."
"Bahrain is one of our country's key strategic allies in the Gulf and the Bahrainis are in the process of building the UK's first naval base east of Suez since the 1970s," Lopresti further stated.
He continued in the same context "I was pleased to attend the Bahraini Airshow in January when it was announced that the Bahraini national carrier, Gulf Air, would be purchasing 29 Airbus aircraft to the value of $3.4 billion, which is great news for engineering jobs and the economy here in the UK; and, indeed for my constituency of Filton and Bradley Stoke."