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Johnson accused of ‘clear breach’ of rules by taking up Daily Mail job

16 Jun 2023 4 minute read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson.is facing calls for his resignation
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by John Sibley / PA Wire

Boris Johnson has been accused of committing a “clear breach” of the ministerial rules by only informing the appointments watchdog of his new role as a Daily Mail columnist half an hour before the public announcement.

The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) wrote to the former prime minister on Friday demanding an explanation in the latest claim that he has broken the standards expected of office.

Mr Johnson landed the job a day after he became the first ever former prime minister to be found to have lied to the Commons in the publication of the damning report into his partygate denials.

Friday’s Daily Mail used its front page to bill an “erudite” new columnist who will be “required reading in Westminster”.

Shortly after 1pm the newspaper tweeted a video confirming Mr Johnson’s appointment, featuring him saying: “It’s going to be exactly what I think.”

Although he quipped he will only cover politics when “I absolutely have to”, the column gives him a powerful platform to take shots at Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with whom he has been publicly clashing.

Advice

The ministerial code requires those who have left the Government in the last two years to apply to the independent watchdog for advice on taking up a new appointment or role.

But Acoba, chaired by Tory peer Lord Eric Pickles, was clear that Mr Johnson’s last-minute declaration was a breach of the rules.

A spokeswoman said: “The ministerial code states that ministers must ensure that no new appointments are announced, or taken up, before the committee has been able to provide its advice.

“An application received 30 mins before an appointment is announced is a clear breach.

“We have written to Mr Johnson for an explanation and will publish correspondence in due course, in line with our policy of transparency.”

The Acoba rules are in place to avoid suspicion that an appointment might be a reward for past favours and to mitigate a risk a minister could exploit privileged access to Government contacts.

But the watchdog is frequently accused of being “toothless” because it cannot impose sanctions.

A spokesman for the former prime minister said: “Boris Johnson is in touch with Acoba and the normal process is being followed.”

On Friday, the right-leaning newspaper said it is “delighted” to welcome “one of the wittiest and most original writers in the business”.

Illustrious

In a video shared alongside the announcement, Mr Johnson said he is “thrilled” to contribute to “those illustrious pages”, and promised to deliver “completely unexpurgated stuff”.

Mr Johnson’s column will appear in the paper every Saturday.

There has been speculation about whether Mr Johnson would return to his journalism roots after he dramatically quit as an MP last week ahead of a report that found he lied to Parliament with his denials of lockdown rule-breaking in No 10.

Before he became party leader, Mr Johnson received a £275,000 salary to write for the Telegraph, which will likely pale in comparison to the sum he will pocket as a former premier.

The former Tory leader joins the ranks of his staunch ally Nadine Dorries, who writes a weekly Tuesday column for the Daily Mail.

The former culture secretary, who has also announced her exit from the Commons, used her most recent piece to suggest “sinister forces” were behind the decision to exclude her from Mr Johnson’s controversial resignation honours list.

The former long-standing Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was also once tipped to be on the list but was reportedly removed during the House of Lords vetting process.

On Thursday, Mr Johnson was found to have deliberately misled MPs with his partygate denials in a report by the Privileges Committee.

They said a series of offences merited a 90-day suspension from the House and recommended he should be blocked from holding the pass to Parliament that former MPs are granted.

Mr Johnson dismissed the report by the cross-party committee, which he claims is a “kangaroo court”, as “deranged”.


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Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
9 months ago

Please! Time to leave this cesspit of corruption and self interest.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
9 months ago

He got sacked from another Tory rag the Torygraph for telling lies now he is with another Tory Rag it will cost them money when the people he will tell lies about takes him and the newspaper to court as he has an axe to grind against those who opposed him

wayne
wayne
9 months ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

Boris has a bigger voice now, Who’s the fool? and Who’s the master chess player? Will the dominoes tumble? How many will survive? It’s Rat eat Rat time now!

wayne
wayne
9 months ago
Reply to  wayne

Four by elections now called in the last week! The Dominoes are running. Swansea MP on dodgy ground will it be five?

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
9 months ago

This guy thinks rules are for fools and he’s right. Rules are for everyone INCLUDING fools so get in line fool.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 months ago

Wherever crook Boris Johnson goes corruption & controversy follows. Apparently he’s now broken the ministerial code by taking a job with the Daily Fail without informing the appointments authority of his intentions. When will he face the consequences of his actions. He’s a teflon Tory. Nothing sticks it seems? 🙄

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

Bruised but unbowed the Prince of Darkness retires to welcome his latest sprog and settle into his new Saturday job standing on street corners gobbing off at anyone who should stop and listen. At least his enemies will know where to find him, you wait ages for a PM and 5 come at all at once. Speaking of which we must be in Guinness Book of Records territory as there are 7 living ex-prime ministers as of now, that’s 7 pensions and 7 security teams x 3. X amount for staff, office, expenses, welfare state !… @Slash, Burn and Pillage… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Time to consider a policy of culling ex-P.M’s once the number passes….2?

George Thomas
George Thomas
9 months ago

Acoba is fairly pointless as it can be ignored without much punishment, if any. But will that be the case this time or will they also want to give Boris a kicking for refusing to go quietly when no longer useful?

Boris has historically been a good newspaper columnist. Probably what he should have stuck too rather than politics.

It’s a fecking cheek mind, that a liar whose behaviour contributed to so many excess, lonely deaths gets to land on his feet in this way.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
9 months ago

Johnson belong in jail, not the Mail.

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