By STAFF REPORTERS AND NZPA

National Party leaders will question MP Richard Worth on Friday about his decision to go sightseeing in Cairo instead of attending a Maori Battalion service during an official trip to Egypt.

National's deputy leader, Roger Sowry, said last night that he had not spoken to Mr Worth, who is on his way home.

"When he returns I expect to find out all the details."

Mr Sowry said it was expected that Mr Worth would attend all official engagements and there had probably been a mix-up over invitations.

"Clearly there has been some confusion about what he was and wasn't invited to. He was invited to a range of functions and there was obviously some confusion about this one.

"By his own statement he has said he went to everything he was invited to."

Labour MP David Cunliffe, who attended the service, which was part of a weekend of international and New Zealand commemorations marking the 60th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein, said it was wrong of Mr Worth not to go.

Mr Cunliffe, who said he was deeply moved by the service, which involved surviving members of the battalion and whanau of those killed, said Mr Worth made an error of judgment in deciding not to attend, and his absence had been noted by Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Mr Worth spent Sunday in Cairo where, among other things, he visited the pyramids, went for a camel ride and visited a market.

He said he was attending four other commemoration services at the weekend.

"I wasn't specifically invited to this one. I've been invited to the others."

Mr Worth, a former Navy reserve captain, said he made the right decision in going to Cairo.

"I had the opportunity of talking to people about issues that are directly referrable to my portfolio."

He had spoken to a person "very well-informed on issues of Muslim extremism".

"In the last two years there has a significant increase in extremism in Egypt. I think it's important to monitor those sorts of trends."

Mr Cunliffe said it was important for Mr Worth to have been at the service.

"It's certainly important for the Maori veterans that there was a full Government representation. I think it would have been nice if the Opposition had bothered to be represented as well."

He disputed Mr Worth's claim that he was not invited.