A British MP who was handed a 30-day suspension after being found guilty of lobbying for a foreign state is one of six Northern Irish politicians that failed to disclose a controversial trip to Israel.
The tour, which was paid for by the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs attracted the attention of the electoral watchdog after members of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) failed to disclose donations of over $3,500.
The DUP blamed “administrative oversight” for the error and said it would rectify the problem, the BBC reported. The party, which has come under harsh criticism for its close ties with the Israeli government, said the visit was “aimed at developing economic links in such sectors as cyber security, with Israeli and Northern Ireland companies at the cutting edge of new technology in this specialist field”.
One of the six MPs that took part in the tour is Ian Paisley. The North Antrim MP was found guilty of paid advocacy after contacting then Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government regarding a UN resolution, reported the Belfast Telegraph.
Critics have pointed to the two incidents and asked where the party now in coalition with the Conservatives stand on human rights.
“The DUP have serious questions to answer about their support for the Israeli government who have massacred over 130 Palestinians since March this year,” said Sinn Fein.
In a statement criticising DUP’s failure to disclose funds given by the Israeli government, the Irish Republican party added: “The DUP have continuously given support to the Israeli government who have turned Gaza into an open air prison, demolished homes, murdered civilians and currently hold hundreds of children in jails.”
Sinn Fein insisted that the “public have a right to know where the DUP stand on integrity in public office, as well as war crimes and human rights abuse in Sri Lanka, Palestine and across the world.”