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Liz Truss accepts £20,000 trip to secret US island meeting paid for by Green Dragon Coalition





Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk including Thetford, accepted a £20,000 trip paid for by a mysterious political organisation to attend a secretive meeting on a privately-owned island in the US.

The former prime minister travelled to Sea Island, on the coast of Georgia, for an event described as a ‘small gathering of the great minds of today’ by organisers the Green Dragon Coalition.

Ms Truss’ parliamentary register of interests shows the group donated £19,541 worth of flights and accommodation for her and one staff member to attend the conference, hosted at a five star hotel called the Cloister.

Liz Truss. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Liz Truss. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

MYSTERY GROUP

There is little public information available about who is involved in the Green Dragon Coalition, although a page on its website outlining its ‘mission’ features a photograph of Mike Lee, Republican senator for Utah.

He is a loyal backer of Donald Trump and has been embroiled in the scandal over the events of January 6, 2021 – when supporters of the then president stormed the Capitol Building, in Washington DC – after released emails showed he had discussed early plans to overturn the 2020 election results.

The group takes its name from the Green Dragon Tavern, a Boston pub where organisers of the Boston Tea Party – the 1773 protest that flamed the tensions that led to the Revolutionary War – are said to have met to plan the action.

A statement on the group’s website says: “Our nation’s core principles – liberty, constitutionally limited government and individual freedom – have been eroded by a political climate that is increasingly dysfunctional and divisive.

“It is time to take a stand and fight for the foundational values that made America great.”

An advertisement for the invitation-only event attended by Ms Truss – held from February 2-4 – said it was a ‘small gathering of great minds… to assemble again and put into motion a restoration of the constitutional principles that gave rise to a uniquely American culture’.

It said: “We invite you to join together as we lead the way to a new era of human flourishing.”

Another statement said: “In this southernmost former colony, we have put together an intensive event. One worthy of the urgency of the moment.

“Just as a small group of men gathered together in the Green Dragon Tavern, in Boston, and put in motion the monumental events that led to America’s independence, we are hosting an intimate event like none other.

“A small group of people will gather together at Sea Island to exchange ideas that will set in motion an American resurgence.”

CONSPIRACY CONTROVERSY

The event came weeks before Ms Truss attended another US event, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in Maryland, where she was joined by several right-wing political figures, including Steve Bannon, the controversial strategist.

The Norfolk MP came under fire for her comments made there, which included claims her short stint in Downing Street was ‘sabotaged’ by the ‘administrative state and the deep state’.

Critics accused her of peddling conspiracy theories.

Labour candidate Terry Jermy, who is battling it out with Ms Truss to become the next South West Norfolk MP, has criticised her trips to the US.

“Time and time again Liz Truss demonstrates that her priority is not South West Norfolk,” he said.

“Whether it be this latest trip to the USA where she was spreading conspiracy theories or making previous lucrative paid speeches around the world.

“Residents are telling me time and again they want an MP focused on their concerns and challenges, not someone distracted by the bright lights of the world stage.

“They want to see action on the things that matter to them, including the NHS, social care, jobs and pay.”

Liz Truss declined to comment on the visit.