Theresa May paid £115k to speak at event founded by Dubai ruler accused of kidnapping

EXCLUSIVE: The Tory Maidenhead MP and former Prime Minister Theresa May flew out to the Gulf last year to speak at the Global Women’s Forum event – which was founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Geraldine McKelvie
February 20, 2021, The Mirror

Former PM Theresa May accepted £115,000 to address a women’s forum founded by the Dubai ruler accused of kidnapping his daughter.

Mrs May flew to the Gulf in February last year to speak at the Global Women’s Forum event.

She was pictured shaking hands with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates.

Last week videos emerged of the 71-year-old billionaire’s daughter Princess Latifa claiming she was being held captive in a villa by her family.

The United Nations has asked the UAE to provide proof she is still alive.

In the videos, released by friends of the princess, Latifa, 35, says: “I don’t know if I’m going to survive this situation. The police said I’d be in prison my whole life – I’d never see the sun again.”

Princess Latifa Al Maktoum  (Image: BBC)

The claims are the latest against Al Maktoum, who has been a guest of the Queen at Royal Ascot. In 2000, Latifa’s sister Princess Shamsa escaped while on holiday in Surrey.

She was tracked down, taken to her dad’s home in Newmarket, Suffolk – then returned to Dubai.

She has not been seen in public since.

Two years later, Latifa made her first escape bid by trying to cross the border into Oman.

She was caught and jailed for three years back home, where she says she tortured in solitary confinement.

In 2018 Latifa made a second bid for freedom and a life in the US.

She was captured off the coast of India and taken back to Dubai.

On Friday, the royal family said Latifa was being “cared for at home”.

Mohammed bin Rashid and Theresa May (Image: WAM)

Mrs May’s trip to the emirate came months after Latifa’s stepmother Princess Haya fled to the UK with her two children to claim asylum, reportedly in fear for her life.

Records show the bill for Mrs May was footed by the Dubai Women Establishment, founded by the Sheikh in 2006.

Its website says: “The Establishment’s mission is to champion women in driving the socio-economic future of Dubai through influencing policies, sharing knowledge, leading initiatives.”

But Princess Latifa’s friend, human rights lawyer David Haigh, said the event was arranged by the Dubai establishment as “a publicity stunt designed to distract from the country’s quite appalling treatment of women”.

A Sunday Mirror probe found that in the past decade 30 MPs – 17 Tories, 11 Labour and two SNP – accepted trips aimed at forging closer ties with the UAE.

In some cases, spouses joined them on the £117,000 trips.

Theresa May was unavailable for comment