Boris Johnson reported to police by civil servants over fresh Covid lockdown rule-breaking allegations
By Jack Walters
Published: 23/05/2023- 18:08
Updated: 24/05/2023- 07:34
Boris Johnson has been referred to police by the Cabinet Office over new claims he broke lockdown rules.
Johnson, 58, reportedly revealed in his ministerial diary that friends visited Chequers during the pandemic.
The Cabinet Office has passed concerns on to both the Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police.
Several guests allegedly visited the Prime Minister's country residence in Buckinghamshire while Covid-curbing restrictions were in place to protect Britons from the pandemic.
However, Johnson denied any rule-breaking took place and was informed about the new concerns last week.
A spokesman for the former Prime Minister said: “Some abbreviated entries in Mr Johnson’s official diary were queried by the Cabinet Office during preparation for the Covid inquiry.
"Following an examination of the entries, Mr Johnson’s lawyers wrote to the Cabinet Office and privileges committee explaining that the events were lawful and were not breaches of any Covid regulations.”
Allies of the former Prime Minister suggested the referral was "clearly political motivated".
Johnson's team also alleged that the Cabinet Office made no attempt to check the claims with the former Prime Minister before approaching the police.
Boris Johnson was fined over PartygatePA
The Times has reported that multiple sources have claimed that the supposed breaches involved members of Johnson's family and his friends.
A source close to the 58-year-old rejected these claims.The privileges committee, which is still investigating whether the former Prime Minister misled Parliament over Partygate, has also been informed.
The committee could hand Johnson a significant political blow if it recommends suspending the former Prime Minister for more than 10 days in a move which could spark a by-election race.
Johnson, whose wife Carrie is pregnant with the couple's third child, was issued with a fixed penalty notice during Scotland Yard's Operation Hillman investigation.
Boris Johnson could be forced to hold a by-election over the privileges committee probePA
The Metropolitan Police dished out a total of 126 fixed penalty notices to 83 people in relation to eight dates which were investigated.
Current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was then serving as Johnson's Chancellor, was also stung during the police's Partygate probe.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “Information came to light during the process of preparing evidence for submission to the 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.
"In line with obligations in the civil service code, this material has been passed to the relevant authorities and it is now a matter for them."
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were handed fixed penalty noticesPA
A spokesman from Thames Valley Police confirmed the investigation by saying: “On Thursday we received a report of potential breaches of the health protection regulations between June 2020 and May 2021 at Chequers, Buckinghamshire. We are currently assessing this information.”
The Metropolitan Police added: “We are in receipt of information from the Cabinet Office passed to us on May 19 2023, which we are currently assessing.
"It relates to potential breaches of the health protection regulations between June 2020 and May 2021 at Downing Street.”
Downing Street said at the time that Johnson did not visit Chequers during the second lockdown.