UK opposition calls for standards commission after PM criticised by former top adviser

Reuters LONDON | Updated on April 24, 2021

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson   -  REUTERS

The Labour party has also written to Johnson calling for a full investigation into the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.

Britain's opposition LabourParty on Saturday called for an independent commission on ethicsand standards in government after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former top adviser criticised the UK leader's integrity.

On Friday Dominic Cummings, who left Johnson's staff suddenly late last year having previously been his most influential adviser over Brexit and the 2019 election campaign,denied reports he leaked Johnson's private communications over the sourcing of COVID-19 ventilators.

Cummings also said he was not responsible for leaks over the cost of refurbishing Johnson's residence and that the prime minister and his office had fallen below acceptable standards of competence and integrity.

Johnson's office in response on Friday said the government had followed the rules over the refurbishment. The prime minister had never interfered in a government leak inquiry, his office added.

"We need some kind of independent commission into ethics andstandards in government, we can't let the prime minister markhis own homework on this," Steve Reed, Labour's spokesman on communities and local government, told BBC radio.

"This was the closest ally the prime minister's got and he's telling us the prime minister's behaviour was unethical, foolish and possibly illegal," he said.

Labour has also written to Johnson calling for a full investigation into the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.

“The Ministerial Code clearly states ‘Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public’. This has not happened," wrote Labour's Rachel Reeves.

“Many people will wonder what personal goodwill could be generated by a secret donation to the redecoration of your living quarters."

Johnson's office had no additional comment on Saturday.

Published on April 24, 2021

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