Boris Johnson took a £14,000 junket to Saudi Arabia just 10 days before the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, according to new filings on the House of Commons register of interests.
The three-day trip to Jeddah, paid for by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, included flights, hotels and meals for the former foreign secretary.
The Saudi regime has been condemned across the world after Mr Khashoggi, a journalist for the Washington Post, was killed by Saudi agents inside the country’s embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.
Mr Johnson has criticised the murder as a “barbaric act” in a recent column in the Daily Telegraph. A source close to the MP said he believed the UK must hold Saudi Arabia to account for the murder: “Mr Johnson visited Saudi Arabia to discuss his longstanding campaign of improving education for women and girls.”
The trip, from September 19-21, was declared via the normal parliamentary procedure.
But its disclosure comes amid unease about Jeddah’s multimillion pound attempts to airbrush the regime’s reputation through advertising and public relations campaigns.
The opposition Labour party has called on the government to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia as a result of the killing.
The UK has sold billions of pounds of weapons to the desert kingdom since the start of the war in Yemen in 2015, where Saudi Arabia is conducting a controversial bombing campaign against Iran-backed insurgents.
Separately, Mr Johnson received a £50,000 donation from Jon Wood, founder of hedge fund SRM, to pay for his office and staffing costs.