Suggestions that Boris Johnson may have engaged in additional rule-breaking during the pandemic have been called “a load of absolute nonsense” by the British politician.
The former prime minister, who has previously stated he looks to be the target of a politically driven scheme, did not disclose who he believes is attempting to “stitch him up.”
He argued, however, that it was “ridiculous” for the Cabinet Office to have given the police access to entries from his official diary made during the pandemic without first checking with him.
No. 10 and the Cabinet Office are sure that when Whitehall staff reported concerns to the Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police, ministers were not involved.
The entries, according to The Times, which broke the news, showed activities in Downing Street during the pandemic as well as visits by Mr. Johnson’s pals to the prime minister’s rural house, Chequers.
The new evidence allegedly surfaced during a review by taxpayer-funded attorneys conducted in advance of the Covid public investigation.
A Sky News reporter questioned Mr. Johnson about the findings as he was waiting to board an aircraft in Washington, DC on Friday as part of his journey to the US, where he is giving a speech regarding the conflict in Ukraine.
“You want my honest view, I think this whole thing is completely nonsensical,” he said.
Asked what the entries show, he replied: “They merely record events in my day.”
One of several political crises that ultimately resulted in the collapse of Mr. Johnson’s premiership was his attendance at a party in Downing Street to celebrate his birthday in June 2020, for which he had already been fined.
“This whole thing is a load of nonsense from beginning to end… I think it’s ridiculous that elements in my diary should be cherry-picked and handed over to the police, to the Privileges Committee without even anybody having the basic common sense to ask me what these entries referred to,” he said.
Asked whether he believes Mr Sunak is trying to stitch him up, he said: “I just think it’s totally nonsensical and bizarre. There are tens of thousands of entries in the prime ministerial diary… None of them constitute a breach of the rules during Covid.”
None of the entries in question, according to Mr. Johnson, are related to moments when the nation was under lockdown but rather to instances when there were other constraints.
He added: “For reasons that – somebody, somewhere, thinks it’s sensible to do this – I don’t.”
The additional information has also been shared with the Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether Mr. Johnson misled Parliament regarding the partygate issue.
The fallout exacerbates the issues Mr. Sunak is dealing with. He was given a fixed punishment along with Mr. Johnson for the incident in June 2020 and is now dealing with anger from the former prime minister’s allies.
When he served as chancellor during the epidemic, Mr. Sunak “definitely” did not violate coronavirus regulations by attending the grace-and-favor retreat, according to his press secretary.
According to the spokeswoman, the Prime Minister did not bring up the topic with his predecessor.
In a letter to the Covid inquiry’s head, Mr. Johnson stated that he was breaking up his relationship with the taxpayer-funded attorneys who were defending him.
He reportedly lost faith in the Cabinet Office.
The public is “fed up to the back teeth” with news about the former prime minister, according to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who made the statement earlier on Friday.
“These are deeply personal things and increasing revelations about Boris Johnson, I think, just add to that sense of hurt and people are fed up with it,” he said.
“I do think there are questions now about why have these allegations not come out before, all these allegations”.