BUSINESS Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s taking free hospitality from Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil firm shows the “hypocrisy” in the UK Government’s energy policy, the Scottish Greens have said.

Transparency data for the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department revealed that Kwarteng travelled to the kingdom in late January this year on a commercial flight costing the taxpayer £4430.

But while travelling around Saudi Arabia, Kwarteng was flown by Aramco, one of the world’s biggest oil producers partially owned by the kingdom, to numerous cities. 

Kwarteng also visited the Shaybah oil field with the Saudi energy minister, but this was not disclosed in the transparency data, and instead reported by Saudi press.

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Kwarteng left the UK for Saudi Arabia on January 29. On January 30 he was flown by Aramco to Dammam, the country’s fifth most populous city, and then gifted an overnight stay at the firm’s guesthouses within their residential compound for workers. The camp is fenced in and only Aramco’s employees and their dependents can live there full time.

The next day, January 31, Kwarteng was flown by Aramco to Jubail, an eastern city on the Gulf coast, and then Riyadh, the kingdom’s capital and financial centre, and also had lunch provided for by the firm.

Kwarteng was also gifted a £300 Lenovo tablet, which transparency data lists as “held by department”. The business secretary returned to the UK on February 1.

However - one visit during the trip was not logged on the transparency data. The Saudi Gazette reports that Kwarteng visited the “super-giant” Shaybah oil field owned by Aramco on January 31, but there is no corresponding travel entry on the recently released hospitality disclosure log.

The field is more than 750km from Dammam, but has its own airport - built and operated by Aramco.

Kwarteng was pictured smiling in traditional Saudi clothing in the desert holding hands with Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman.

It is unclear how Kwarteng could have made the journey without support from Aramco.

Opposition politicians have criticised Kwarteng taking the Saudi state’s hospitality, particularly in light of their human rights record, while others have questioned whether he has broken the ministerial code.

Ross Greer, Scottish Greens MSP, said: "The only thing more consistent than the UK government's fawning relationship with big oil is its grovelling dedication to pleasing the brutal Saudi dictatorship at all costs.

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“It may have one of the worst human rights records in the world, but that hasn't stopped Downing Street from arming and supporting the regime, with UK-made bombs and aircraft playing a central role in the brutal bombardment of Yemen.

"This is yet another example of the hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign and energy policy. With independence we can take a different path, by investing in our renewable potential and standing up for human rights and democracy on the world stage."

Kerry McCarthy, Labour's shadow minister for climate change, told Insider: "It's bad enough that Conservative energy policy failures mean the UK has to go cap in hand to fossil fuel dictators.

“Now the Secretary of State must clarify whether he allowed oil money to pay for him to dine out and jet around Saudi Arabia."

The ministerial code states that “offers of free travel should not normally be accepted” unless the offer is made by a foreign government “provided no undue obligation is created”.

The National: Concerns have been raised that Kwarteng may have broken the ministerial code by accepting the hospitalityConcerns have been raised that Kwarteng may have broken the ministerial code by accepting the hospitality

Although Aramco is majority state-owned, it is not part of the Saudi Arabian government.

Susan Hawley, executive director at Spotlight on Corruption, said: "As the ministerial code makes clear, UK ministers should clearly not be accepting hospitality and travel junkets when they make overseas visits from the likes of state-owned oil companies such as Saudi Aramco where there is any risk of undue obligations or influence being created.

"It is essential that the department release full details of these visits, what was discussed, and the purpose of the visit, with full costs of the hospitality and travel provided, so that the public can have confidence that no such undue obligations were created."

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A BEIS spokesperson said: "Travel to and from Saudi Arabia was arranged by the British Government.

“These short, internal flights within Saudi Arabia were arranged by the Saudi government and have been properly and publicly declared, as is required."

Saudi press also reported that Kwaseng had "introductory visits to several companies to learn about their most important products" while in Jubail, but the details were not published by BEIS.