Matthew Steeples questions if it is right for the former Prime Minister Theresa May to presumably taking wads of wonga to give a speech to the World Travel & Tourism Council in Saudi Arabia given the World Economic Forum ranked the country 141 out of 149 countries on gender equality
On Thursday, an email pinged into my inbox from a London based organisation I’d never previously heard of – the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
In it, the WTTC bragged that they were announcing she who viewed it naughty to go “wandering in wheat fields,” Theresa May, as its “keynote speaker for its Global Summit in Saudi Arabia.”
Of the presence and participation of Lady May – as the queen of “Brexit means Brexit” is now known after her “I do the traditional boy jobs by and large” husband was made Sir Philip for being “her rock” and “political services” – at this event in a country known best for its appalling human rights record, the WTTC did not declare what she would be paid or who was paying her.
Neither also did this organisation reference their thoughts on the regime running Saudi Arabia but instead, Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, pontificated:
“Theresa May has a long-standing interest in the environment and as Prime Minister, she launched the ‘25 Year Environmental Plan’ to tackle issues such as plastic waste. In 2019 she formally committed the UK to achieving ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so.”
“During the pandemic, Theresa May was concerned about the uncoordinated global response, and she showed great political leadership calling for international cooperation based on evidence.”
“Our event will bring together many of the world’s most powerful leaders in our sector to discuss and secure its long-term future, which is critical to economies and jobs around the world.”
Between 1st February 2021 and 31st January 2022, Lady May unabashedly claimed £143,008.98 ($168,982, €165,017 or درهم620,587) in expenses on top of her MP’s salary and in July 2021, Insider reported that she had earned £1,861,776 ($2.2 million, €2.1 million or درهم8.1 million) for speeches since leaving Downing Street in July 2019. Who’d have thought that anyone would want to give money to hear this “wandering warbler” bang on about anything, but hey, quitting frontline politics has most certainly brought this bland, boring woman a very, very pretty pay packet.
By email to the communications manager for the World Travel & Tourism Council, Felix Parker-Smith, whose contact details were listed alongside the press release, I subsequently requested clarification. My brief missive read:
“My questions are: 1. What fee is Lady May being paid for this appearance/speech and by what means will she be travelling to give this speech? Who is paying her fee and travel expenses?”
“2. What is the view of Lady May on human rights issues and abuses in Saudi Arabia?”
“3. Will Lady May be raising these well documented abuses in Saudi Arabia during her speech?”
“4. Does Lady May view it to be ‘sustainable’ to be travelling, presumably by aircraft, to give such a speech? Could she not have given such a speech via Zoom?”
“I would most certainly write about this and will look forward to answers to all four of my questions prior to doing so.”
Parker-Smith, without acknowledging who is actually giving the former Prime Minister a bag of cash, curtly answered:
“As these are questions for Mrs May, I’ve forwarded your email to our contact.”
By return, given Parker-Smith’s clear lack of willingness to address the issues raised, I responded:
“Thank you for forwarding on to Lady May’s representatives though surely the World Travel & Tourism Council must be the body that hired Lady May (I believe that to be her correct title given her husband’s elevation).”
“I would like to ask your organisation directly: 1. Does the World Travel & Tourism Council have any statement to make about the matter of Lady May being hired and why they chose her?”
“2. Given the then Mrs May’s involvement in bringing about the disaster for British tourist businesses that is Brexit, what influenced your organisation’s choice of the very woman who implemented ‘Brexit means Brexit’?”
“3. If the WTTC is not paying Lady May, who is funding this Member of Parliament on a trip outside of her constituency remit?”
Tellingly in his next email, Parker-Smith attempted to dodge another bullet and concluded:
“We will not be making further statements beyond our press release.”
“However, on background, I can confirm that previous Summits have attracted world leaders such as Barack Obama, Tony Blair and Emmanuel Macron. Alongside Ban Ki-Moon, Theresa May has held a prominent role on the world stage and has been invited in this capacity to speak about her experiences and insight for the global travel and tourism industry.”
As of 10.30am on Monday 21st November, no reply explaining who would be paying Lady May had been received by The Steeple Times from utterly anybody.
Editor’s Note – Unlike as is the case in many publications, this article was NOT sponsored or supported by a third-party.
What else has Theresa been pocketing from her ‘Magic Money Tree’?
- An MPs salary of £84,144 ($99,400, €97,100 or درهم365,100) plus expenses “to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London or their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency.”
- An £85,000 per year ($100,400, €98,070 or درهم368,800 per year) salary from the Office of Theresa May Limited “until further notice” for just 24 hours work per month or just 288 hours work per year.
- Honorary life membership of the Carlton Club.
- ‘VIP treatment’ at Heathrow Airport, valued at £4,200 a pop, at least 14 times totalling at least £58,800 ($69,500, €67,900 or درهم255,100).
- Substantial rental income from a flat in London owned jointly with her husband.
- A discount card from Amanda Wakeley, “which has the potential to be of registrable value.”