Johnson should resign if he broke ministerial code – Scottish Tory leader

Three investigations under way into the financing of the prime minister’s renovations

Prime minister Boris Johnson denies breaking any laws over the refurbishment of his residence. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/ PA Wire

Prime minister Boris Johnson denies breaking any laws over the refurbishment of his residence. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/ PA Wire

 

Boris Johnson should resign if he is found to have broken the ministerial code over the financing of renovations of his Downing Street flat, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives has said.

Douglas Ross said on Sunday that Mr Johnson should “of course” quit if he is found to have breached the code. Three investigations are examining whether the British prime minister properly declared any donations for the lavish refurbishments.

Mr Ross’s comments have frustrated Downing Street advisers who wanted to play down sleaze allegations after a week of damaging disclosures about Mr Johnson’s government, with elections taking place on Thursday.

Appearing on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Ross, who had previously called for Nicola Sturgeon to resign after she was found by a committee of the Scottish parliament to have misled it, was asked if Mr Johnson should stand down if found to be in breach of the ministerial code.

“Of course, I think people expect the highest standards of those in the highest office of the land,” he said. “That’s why I think people are looking at the investigations that are currently ongoing and waiting for the answers.”

The new ministerial standards adviser, Christopher Geidt, has been tasked with reviewing the controversy in an investigation that will examine whether Mr Johnson has breached the ministerial code, which sets out the standards of conduct expected of ministers and how they discharge their duties.

Mr Johnson would be expected to show that his behaviour was consistent with the code, which makes clear there should be “no actual or perceived conflicts of interest”.

‘Ultimate arbitrator’

But Mr Johnson has retained the power to frustrate any inquiry into his behaviour. He remains the “ultimate arbitrator” of the code and gets the final say on whether he broke the rules, a situation Labour says allows him to be his own judge and jury as the opposition calls for reform.

Lord Geidt’s predecessor, Sir Alex Allan, resigned in November after Mr Johnson overruled a finding by him that the home secretary, Priti Patel, had bullied staff.

Appearing on the same show after Mr Ross, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab defended Mr Johnson but declined to say whether the prime minister should resign if the electoral commission were to find he had broken the law.

“I think the right thing for me to do is respect the integrity of those reviews and let them run their course rather than commenting on what may or may not be found at the end of it,” he told Marr.

The shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, said it was clear Mr Johnson was withholding information from the public. She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It’s appalling we are in a position where he won’t come clean about who loaned him money or gave him money, and what favours or promises may have been given.”

The cabinet secretary, Simon Case, is running his own review of how the Cabinet Office and No 10 handled the funding of the No 11 flat refurbishments.

Mr Johnson has denied breaking any laws over the refurbishment of his residence and insisted he paid “personally” for the works. – Guardian