John­son told to apol­o­gise

Ex-Cab­i­net min­is­ter failed to reg­is­ter £52,000 in­come in time

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS - BY DAVID HUGHES

Boris John­son has been forced to apol­o­gise to MPs for fail­ing to de­clare more than £52,000 in in­come af­ter the Commons stan­dards watch­dog sug­gested he showed an “over-ca­sual at­ti­tude” to the rules.

The for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary of­fered a “full and un­re­served” apol­ogy in a 35-se­cond state­ment in the House of Commons.

The Commons Com­mit­tee on Stan­dards said Mr John­son broke House rules by fail­ing to reg­is­ter pay­ments within the re­quired timetable on nine oc­ca­sions.

MPs have to reg­is­ter any changes to their fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests each month, but the for­mer Cab­i­net min­is­ter’s regis­tra­tions were late on four sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions, in­volv­ing nine pay­ments, the sleaze watch­dog found.

Kathryn Stone, par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sioner for stan­dards, said the num­ber of late regis­tra­tions sug­gested a “lack of at­ten­tion to the House’s re­quire­ments, rather than in­ad­ver­tent er­ror”.

But the com­mit­tee said there were no grounds for sup­pos­ing Mr John­son “in­tended to de­ceive the House or the gen­eral pub­lic about the level of his re­mu­ner­a­tion”.

The com­mit­tee con­cluded: “We rec­om­mend that Mr John­son should make an apol­ogy to the House, on a point of or­der, for this breach of the rules.

“We rec­om­mend that in that apol­ogy he should ad­dress the spe­cific com­ments we make in this re­port, and that he should un­der­take to en­sure that his fu­ture regis­tra­tions of re­mu­ner­a­tion are made in a timely way.

“We fur­ther rec­om­mend that the rel­e­vant pay­ments be ital­i­cised in the reg­is­ter to in­di­cate that they are late en­tries.”

The nine late regis­tra­tions had a to­tal value of £52,722.80, and were largely roy­al­ties or for the sale of rights on books al­ready writ­ten, Ms Stone said.

And it said Mr John­son re­sponded “promptly and help­fully” when the is­sue was raised to him, apol­o­gised to the com­mis­sioner and put in place “ef­fec­tive mea­sures to en­sure that no fur­ther breach oc­curs”.

In his ad­dress to the Commons, Mr John­son said: “I fully ac­cept that the de­lay was a breach of the House’s rules and, though I’m grate­ful to the com­mit­tee for recog­nis­ing that there was no in­ten­tion to mis­lead the House and that I had been com­pletely trans­par­ent, I there­fore of­fer the House a full and un­re­served apol­ogy.”

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