Anger at reports that Boris Johnson is to be cleared again of ministerial code breaches

Boris Johnson “made a mockery of the standards expected of him,” Labor said amid reports that he would be acquitted again for breaking the code of ministers for renovating his Downing Street apartment.

The Financial Times has reported that the Prime Minister’s conduct has been “criticized”, with Lord Geidt, Ministerial Standards Advisor, describing the situation to his colleagues as “deeply unsatisfactory”.

But the newspaper said it was known that Mr. Johnson would be acquitted of violating the code.

It quoted a senior official as saying, “Geidt makes it clear that the situation is total chaos. But at the same time the basic conclusion is that the prime minister did not deceive or break the ministerial code. “

Lord Geidt previously acquitted Mr Johnson of violating the Code regarding home renovation funding, but has re-examined his initial investigation following a recent election commission investigation, the FT said.

The commission fined the Conservatives £ 17,800 after discovering the party had failed to comply with Lord Brownlow’s law on donations to cover work on the apartment at number 11.

The watchdog’s report raised further questions by discussing evidence that Mr Johnson had sent the Tory peer a WhatsApp message in November 2020 “asking him to carry out further, at the time unspecified, renovation work on the Residency Approve ”, which he agreed to.

It did so despite Mr Johnson telling Lord Geidt that he was unaware of the payments until just prior to media reports in February 2021.

The FT reported that government advisors said Lord Geidt had now seen all relevant WhatsApp messages and concluded that there was no violation of the code.

But the newspaper said the prime minister’s behavior was being criticized.

According to several Whitehall officials who were aware of Lord Geidt’s recent investigation, “three to four” letters number 10 had been exchanged regarding the latest revelations that might be made public in the New Year.

The FT reported that a source said of the investigation, “There is enough in these letters to raise your eyebrows. The Prime Minister has apologized for some of the circumstances of the initial investigation, which Lord Geidt has accepted. “

Labor claimed that Mr Johnson “mocked” the standards he expected.

Vice-Chair Angela Rayner said, “After the electoral commission ruled that the Conservative Party broke the donation declaration law, the prime minister mocked the standards that the public is entitled to expect.

“With the UK public facing a cost of living crisis, Boris Johnson is busy writing to his own advisor why he has not given him all the information he needs to conduct his investigation.

“Lord Geidt should publish all of his correspondence with the Prime Minister as a first step to have full transparency on how Boris Johnson explains his WhatsApp messages to Tory donors.

“It is embarrassing that Boris Johnson is busy cleaning up his personal mess when the country needs real leadership.”

Downing Street and the Election Commission declined to comment.

The Cabinet Office told the FT, “We do not comment on speculation”.

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