Johnson blasts ‘bizarre and unacceptable’ new claims he broke COVID lockdown rules

Politics

Boris Johnson has been referred to the police by the Cabinet Office over new claims he broke COVID lockdown rules.

The former prime minister’s ministerial diary has revealed visits by friends to Chequers during the pandemic.

The visits to the grace-and-favour residence were highlighted during preparations for a public inquiry into COVID, according to The Times which first reported on the story.

The Cabinet Office has passed concerns to the Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police.

Police are currently “assessing” concerns, but a formal investigation has not yet been launched.

The privileges committee, which is investigating claims that Mr Johnson misled parliament over partygate, has been informed.

Sources close to Mr Johnson called the referral “clearly politically motivated” and claimed the Cabinet Office did not give him any notice “so he could put forward the facts before the report was made”.

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He has been advised by lawyers that the events were lawful.

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said: “Some abbreviated entries in Mr Johnson’s official diary were queried by 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.”

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: “We are in receipt of information from the Cabinet Office passed to us on 19 May 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.”

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