Theresa May who last week called for international travel to resume despite the threat of the Delta variant, has received more than £65,000 in hospitality from Heathrow Airport since 2019, NationalWorld can reveal.
The former prime minister was given the use of Heathrow’s VIP suite on 16 occasions between August 2019 and September 2020, valued at £4,200 per visit , according to the MP’s register of interests. That amounts to £67,200 worth of hospitality.
The VIP suite Mrs May was given access to, which is temporarily closed due to Covid, includes a butler, Michelin-star food, a personal shopper and a selection of curated art.
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The former PM spoke in a Commons debate on aviation last week, decrying a lack of progress on opening up international travel.
Heathrow is the UK’s largest airport and stands to gain the most from a resumption of international travel.
Addressing the House, Mrs May said it was a “disappointing debate”, due to a lack of progress since last year on the issue.
She said business travel was “practically impossible” and warned that the Government “needs to decide whether they want an airline industry and aviation sector in the UK or not, because at the rate they are going, they will not have one”.
Mrs May said: “There will not be a time when we can say that there will never be another case of Covid-19 in this country. “Secondly, variants will keep on coming. There will be new variants every year.
“If the Government’s position is that we cannot open up travel until there are no new variants elsewhere in the world, we will never be able to travel abroad ever again.”
She also directly referenced her benefactor, stating that, “in a normal pre-pandemic year, passengers travelling through Heathrow spent £16 billion throughout the country”.
While Mrs May did direct MPs to her Register of Members’ Financial Interests entry at the beginning of her speech, the most recent edition of the register only shows two gifts from Heathrow.
Only gifts and donations from the past 12 months have to be included on the register, but the bulk of Mrs May’s donations from Heathrow came between August 2019 and February 2020 – which are included on older interest records.
Chauffeurs, butlers and personal shoppers
The Windsor Suite, which May has used on at least 16 occasions, is described as “Heathrow’s best kept secret”.
The VIP lounges are private and feature “beautiful artwork” curated by luxury home decor firm, Tanya Baxter Contemporary.
The lounge experiences, which start from £2,750 + VAT for up to three people, include chauffeur and butler service, with food from a menu created by Michelin-star chef Jason Atherton.
Those using the service are also able to make use of a personal shopper, who will “guide or accompany you on a shopping trip – or do your shopping for you”.
Due to lockdown restrictions, the Windsor Suite has been closed since January, according to a post on its glitzy Instagram page.
Mrs May currently earns more than any other MP from work outside of parliament, through lucrative speeches and public appearances.
As a former prime minister, she is also entitled to claim money back toward the costs of maintaining her public duties, through the Public Duties Cost Allowance, and claimed £34,836 in 2019/2020.
Theresa May has been approached for comment.
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