Johnson claims the breaches of Covid rules are ‘a lot of nonsense’
Oris Johnson called suggestions that he may have been involved in further rule-breaking during the pandemic as “a lot of absolute nonsense”.
The former prime minister declined to say who he thinks is trying to “rip him off” after previously claiming he appears to be the victim of a politically motivated conspiracy.
However, he insisted that the Cabinet Office’s decision to turn over entries from his official diary to police during the pandemic without first questioning them with him was “ridiculous”.
No 10 and the Cabinet Office insist ministers were not involved as Whitehall officials relayed concerns to the Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police.
The entries revealed visits by Mr Johnson’s friends to Checkers – the Prime Minister’s country home – and events in Downing Street during the pandemic, according to The Times, which broke the story.
The new information is said to have come to light during a review by taxpayer-funded lawyers ahead of the Covid public inquiry.
Mr Johnson was catching a flight in Washington DC on Friday as part of his trip to the US to speak on the war in Ukraine when he was asked about the revelations by a Sky News journalist.
“You want my honest opinion, I think the whole thing is complete nonsense,” he said.
When asked what the entries show, he replied: “They only document events from my time.”
Mr Johnson was previously fined for attending a Downing Street gathering to mark his birthday in June 2020 – one of several political crises that ultimately led to the end of his tenure as Prime Minister.
“This whole thing is a load of nonsense from start to finish… I find it ridiculous that items from my journal are being pecked out and turned over to the police, the Privileges Committee, without anyone having the common sense to ask me what they are on about.” Entries related,” he said.
Asked if he thinks Mr Sunak is trying to screw him, he said: “I just find it completely nonsensical and bizarre. There are tens of thousands of entries in the Prime Minister’s diary…None of them constitute a breach of rules during Covid.”
Mr Johnson suggested that none of the entries in question refer to periods when the country was in lockdown, but to times when other restrictions were in place.
He added, “For reasons that – anyone, somewhere, thinks it makes sense to do this – I don’t.”
The Privileges Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into whether Mr Johnson lied to Parliament about the Partygate scandal, has also been briefed on the new information.
The fallout adds to the problems faced by Mr Sunak, who received a stiff sentence alongside Mr Johnson in connection with the June 2020 incident and is now facing unrest from the former Prime Minister’s allies.
When he was chancellor during the pandemic, Mr Sunak “definitely” did not go to the clemency and clemency celebrations in violation of coronavirus rules, his spokesman said.
The prime minister did not discuss the controversy with his predecessor, the spokeswoman said.
Mr Johnson indicated in a letter to the head of the Covid inquiry that he would cut ties with the taxpayer-funded lawyers representing him.
He is understood to have lost confidence in the Cabinet.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer earlier on Friday said the public was “fed up” with stories about the former Prime Minister.
“These are deeply personal things and I think the mounting revelations about Boris Johnson only add to the sense of hurt and people are fed up with it,” he said.
“I think the question now is why these allegations, all these allegations, didn’t come up sooner.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-the-times-keir-starmer-cabinet-office-downing-street-b1084114.html Johnson claims the breaches of Covid rules are ‘a lot of nonsense’