Boris Johnson has referred to police over possible new breaches of COVID rules

Boris Johnson has referred to police over possible new breaches of COVID rules

  • UK government passes information to police on Johnson
  • Police assess information related to COVID rule violations
  • Johnson’s office defiant, declares accusations unfounded

LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) – Britain’s Boris Johnson has been referred to police over potential further breaches of lockdown rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, a charge the former prime minister’s office described as ” yet another politically motivated seam”.

The Cabinet Office, which is responsible for overseeing the running of government, said it had made a referral to the police based on information uncovered while preparing submissions for a public inquiry into the pandemic.

The Times newspaper, which first reported the news on Tuesday, said ministerial diaries showed visits by friends during the pandemic to Chequers, a rural mansion used as a residence by serving prime ministers.

The Cabinet Office confirmed that it passed information to the police “in accordance with the requirements of the civil service code”.

London’s Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police, the force that covers the area around Checkers, both said they were assessing the information, which related to potential breaches of health protection regulations between June 2020 and May 2021.

Johnson, whose premiership was cut short in part by anger in his own party and across Britain over lockdown parties breaking COVID rules at his office and Downing Street residence, was defiantly, claiming that the claim was unfounded.

“The Cabinet Office’s assertion that there were other breaches of COVID rules is wholly untrue. Lawyers have reviewed the events in question and advised that they were lawful,” his office said in a statement.

“Many will conclude that it has all the hallmarks of another politically motivated assembly.”

Earlier, Johnson’s spokesman said some ‘abbreviated entries’ in the former prime minister’s official diary had been queried by the Cabinet Office in preparation for the UK’s COVID inquiry, but had been dealt with by his lawyers.

It’s a further blow for Johnson, who is keen to build a profile as one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters in its fight against invading Russia and who is still regarded by some members of the Conservative party. in office as a vote winner who could return to Britain’s top job. .


He remains one of the most recognizable figures in British politics and also one of its most controversial.

The voice of Brexit who won a landslide election victory in 2019, Johnson was forced out of office by his own party in 2022 after a catalog of scandals and missteps.

He was fined by police for attending an event to celebrate his birthday in Downing Street in June 2020, making him the first Prime Minister convicted of breaking the law in office.

But he also retains the support of some Tories who believe he is still their best hope of retaining power – a factor fueling divisions within the party ahead of an election due to be held next year.

Johnson is still under investigation by a parliamentary committee into whether he intentionally or recklessly misled the House of Commons over the so-called ‘partygate’.

The former prime minister told the Privileges Committee there was no evidence he intentionally misled lawmakers.

His office suggested the Cabinet Office decision was ‘a last ditch attempt…to prolong the Privileges Committee’s inquiry as it came to a close and undermine Mr Johnson’ and that the meetings at Checkers were either in accordance with the rules in force outside or covered by derogations.

‘Lawyers for Mr Johnson wrote this evening to the police forces involved to explain in detail why the Cabinet Office is totally wrong in its assertions.

Reporting by William James Editing by Chris Reese

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

William James

Thomson Reuters

William leads the UK Breaking News team, ensuring that Reuters is the first to report key developments in political, economic and general news. Previously, he spent nearly a decade in Westminster as a UK political correspondent and previously covered the financial markets during the eurozone debt crisis.

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