Nick Boles, a British Member of Parliament, has stirred up controversy after he used tax payer’s money to pay for Hebrew lessons, following his civil partnership with an Israeli man.
Members of Parliament are allowed to use public funds in order to learn foreign languages, if it is for professional purposes, however Boles is being criticized for using the money for personal use.
“Nick Boles has abused this taxpayer-funded perk in order to make conversation around the breakfast table a little easier,” says Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance in Britain. “If MPs want to learn the language of a foreign partner then they should pay for it themselves, not expect taxpayers to pick up the bill.”
Boles, who met his partner during a trip to Israel, engaged in a civil union in London earlier this year.
“Language instruction is a service available to Members of Parliament. I took some Hebrew lessons,” he said in a statement to the Daily Mail. “It is something I’m entitled to do,” he told the Mirror. “I’ve done it and that’s that.”
According to the Daily Mail, Boles is considered a confidant of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and this story could prove embarrassing for the prime minister because his office has been “accused of wasting precious cash.”