London: It looks like British Labour Party politician David Miliband is following in the footsteps of his mentor and former prime minister Tony Blair, by turning to the lucrative foreign lecture circuit after leaving frontline politics.
In a startling revelation, it has emerged that Miliband was paid GBP 25,000 to give a speech on relations between the West and the Muslim world at a conference held in a ‘luxurious oasis’ resort in the Middle East, reports the Telegraph.
British Parliamentary records showed that he also had his travel and five-star accommodation covered during the three-day trip, partly by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
According to the latest Register of Members’ Financial Interests, he was also paid GBP 2,500 to write a newspaper article defending his ‘dancing naked women’ painting, which his wife had bought him for GBP 800 as a birthday present.
Miliband, a protégé of Blair, was expected to become Labour’s leader after the election but was dramatically defeated by his younger brother Ed in September.
He declined to serve in the shadow cabinet and bowed out of frontline politics days later.
But according to the latest version of the register of interests, he was quick to find new opportunities.
Miliband records that he received a ‘payment of GBP 25,000 for lecture at Sir Bani Yas Forum on Future of Middle East, Abu Dhabi’.
The entry, added on November 30th, adds: ‘Fee for lecture paid by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies’ in Abu Dhabi.
His travel and accommodation between November 05 and 08 was paid for by the International Peace Institute, based in New York, ‘and the Government of UAE’.
The conference - where ‘opinion-makers and business leaders’ discussed ‘critical challenges for peace and security in the Middle East’ - was held at the five-star Qasr Al Sarab resort in Abu Dhabi.
Its website describes it as a ‘luxurious oasis’ in the ‘legendary Liwa Desert’ where guests can ‘unwind in the unsurpassed comfort of private, palatial-style villas’.
The register also showed that Miliband was paid GBP 2,500 for an article that appeared in a Sunday newspaper under the headline: ‘My naked dancing women fill me with joy (and snooty art critics be damned!)’
He wrote the article after a photograph showing a picture of a group of 13 naked women dominating the sitting room of his home in Primrose Hill, north London, emerged.
His wife Louise Shackelton had bought it for him for GBP 800, but art critics said the work of art was ‘middle-brow junk’ that ‘ought to be in a pole-dancing club’.
“We bought it because it put a smile on our faces,” Miliband wrote in the article.