Boris Johnson is a 'vacuum of integrity' says Lucas
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Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, appeared on last night’s episode of BBC Newsnight. The MP was asked by host Emily Maitlis about recent allegations the Prime Minister has used Tory Party donations to finance a refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.
In response to Ms Maitlis, Mr Bridgen said Mr Johnson could have to resign if he is found to have breached Ministerial Code.
But he took aim at the Labour Party first, and said: “What this is about Emily, is that Labour can’t attack the Government, they can’t play the ball – important elections they’re just playing the man.”
Ms Maitlis then referred to Mr Johnson’s alleged remarks about letting “bodies pile high in their thousands” rather than order a third Covid lockdown, and asked would the Prime Minister “need to resign for misleading the house” should they be confirmed.
Mr Bridgen said in response: “If he breached the code of conduct, the Ministerial Code, then there would be a sanction and that could be a resignation.
“It isn’t always but it could be, but the plan was very clear and he’s denied the other allegations that have been laid at his door. Very clearly.”
It follows the Electoral Commission launching an investigation into the Prime Minister’s refurbishments to his Downing Street flat.
The spending watchdog said there were “reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred” after it was alleged by Dominic Cummings that Mr Johnson planned to pay for renovations with Tory Party donations.
Ms Maitlis referenced the controversy surrounding Mr Johnson’s alleged usage of Tory Party funds to redecorate his flat, and asked “will you accept any outcome that they do find?”.
Mr Bridgen replied “we’ll have to see” before deflecting to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority investigating Labour.
Mr Bridgen then said Labour’s criticism of the Tory party was a “kamikaze mission” because of its alleged scandals in Liverpool.
The Tory MP then added when asked again about the Ministerial Code: “It depends on the degree on which you’ve broken (the code), and what he’s actually broken.
“We’re talking about the Prime Minister spending his own money doing up his own flat that the incumbent for a period of time will not be taking the benefit with him.
“It has not cost the taxpayer anything.”
Controversy around Mr Johnson’s alleged usage of party donations and public funds rose after Mr Cummings response to allegations he was behind Downing Street leaks.
In a blog post denying he was behind leaked information, the former aide accused the Prime Minister of taking an “unethical”, “foolish”, and “possibly illegal” approach to engaging with Tory donors.
Mr Cummings also alleged Mr Johnson wanted to stop an inquiry into the leaked announcement of the second Covid lockdown as “all the evidence definitely leads to Henry Newman”, a friend of the Prime Minister’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds.
Dominic Grieve, who served as Conservative attorney general, also accused Mr Johnson of being “vacuum of integrity” who turned Downing Street into a “lie machine”.
Mr Johnson said repeatedly during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions he “personally” paid for the renovations.
But he also refused to answer whether he received an initial loan from the Tory party.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman has also confirmed the Prime Minister remains the “ultimate arbiter” into any investigations on whether he breached the ministerial code, meaning he could reject the findings should they go against him.
He said: “The Prime Minister will remain the ultimate arbiter of this, yep.”
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