An official report ruled that Boris Johnson acted “unwise” in allowing his Downing Street apartment to be renovated without “stricter consideration of how this is to be financed” – but the Prime Minister of anything Misconduct exempt.
The same report concluded that Matt Hancock had committed an “incidental” and “minor” breach of the Ministerial Code regarding the award of an NHS contract. But it was said that the health minister had “acted with integrity throughout” – and that the violation should “in no way call into question his good character or his ministerial record”.
The “Annual Report of the Independent Adviser” from Lord Geidt – the independent adviser on ministers’ interests – found that the Prime Minister “knew nothing about” payments for the renovation of his Downing Street apartment until reports surfaced in the media.
But Lord Geit said the “Prime Minister – unwise in my opinion – allowed the renovation of the apartment at 11 Downing Street without giving any thought to how it would be financed.”
Mr Hancock has been investigated on allegations that he did not state that he had an interest in a company owned by his sister and brother-in-law that had received an NHS framework contract
Lord Geit said this failure was “a consequence” of Mr. Hancock’s “lack of knowledge and in no way deliberate” – but “a minor breach of the Ministerial Code in technical terms”.
“I have advised the Prime Minister accordingly,” said Lord Geit in the report.
“In making this statement, I acknowledge that Mr. Hancock has acted with integrity throughout and that this event should in no way call into question his good character or his ministerial record.
Last month opposition MPs raised concerns that Lord Geidt was not independent enough to lead the investigation. They said that since Mr. Johnson remains the “ultimate arbiter” of the Ministerial Code, he will act as the “judge and jury” to determine whether he has committed any wrongdoing by funding the upgrades.