UK: Boris Johnson referred to police for potential Covid rules breach3 min read
Boris Johnson, Britain’s former prime minister, has been referred to the police for new possible violation of Covid lockdown rules, the British government told NEWS on Tuesday.
Documents dealing with the potential breach have been passed on to the London Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police, a government source told NEWS, adding, “it is now a matter for them.”
Thames Valley Police confirmed it had received the documents in a statement, saying it related to “potential breaches” at Chequers, the official countryside home of the sitting British prime minister, “between June 2020 and May 2021.”
The UK’s Times newspaper, which first reported the story, said Johnson’s ministerial diary revealed visits by friends to Chequers during the pandemic.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said in a statement to NEWS that information first “came to light” as evidence was being prepared by the Cabinet Office for submission to a Covid inquiry. “It was identified as part of the normal disclosure review of potentially relevant documents being undertaken by the legal team for inquiry witnesses,” the spokesperson said.
Downing Street was made aware of this information after relevant authorities were notified, and is not involved in this process, the source said, adding that this material itself is not subject to any investigation from the Cabinet Office, but was simply passed on to the police following protocol.
Johnson’s office called the allegations “bizarre and unacceptable,” the UK’s PA Media news agency reported Tuesday, adding that Johnson’s lawyers have written to police to “explain in detail why the Cabinet Office is entirely wrong in its assertions.”
“For whatever political purpose, it is plain that a last-ditch attempt is being made to lengthen the Privileges Committee investigation as it was coming to a conclusion and to undermine Mr Johnson,” the statement to PA Media said.
“The events in question were all within the rules either because they were held outdoors or came within another lawful exception. They include regular meetings with civil servants and advisers,” the PA reported.
On Tuesday, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group tweeted that Johnson is “totally unfit for any form of public service” and suggested he “quietly step back from public life.”
“These revelations make a grim mockery of Boris Johnson’s claims that he didn’t break his own lockdown rules. He is totally unfit for any form of public service, never mind being the Prime Minister,” the group said in a Twitter thread.”He lied when he said to our faces that he’d done “all he could” to protect our loved ones, he lied again when he said the rules hadn’t been broken in number 10, and he’s lied over and over again since then when he’s denied it,” it said.
The Liberal Democrats party called on Johnson to “consider his position as an MP” following the report.
Last year, Johnson was fined by police over lockdown-breaking parties held on UK government premises during the height of the pandemic. He later resigned as prime minister after being plagued by a series of scandals ranging from accusations of his disregard for rules to allegations of impropriety and abuse by Conservative lawmakers.