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Dipankar De Sarkar, Hindustan Times
London, November 23, 2012
British backbench MPs have been flocking to India and other countries on foreign jaunts whose costs of over £1.5 million have been borne by host governments, pressure groups and private companies.
India was the third most popular destination after China and the US, according to an investigation by The Independent newspaper.

A significant number of 242 parliament members who undertook ‘fact-finding’ trips later made speeches in parliament supporting the political positions of the countries they visited.

Since the 2010 general election, MPs have made 36 visits to China and Hong Kong, 23 to India and 34 to the US. Only one MP accepted a trip to Afghanistan and two MPs went to Belgium.

Leading the rush to foreign shores was former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband, who has gone on 14 foreign trips costing £47,600 and taking up 47 days since losing the Labour leadership to his brother Ed.

Not only MPs are fond of foreign jollies. London Mayor, who flew out to India on Friday, accused his Labour rival

Ken Livingstone of having spent an astounding £740,000 on his last trip to India. By contrast, he told the Hindustan Times, his week-long business trip will cost the taxpayer a modest £20,000.