BORIS Johnson and his Cabinet have broken the UK Government’s transparency rules by failing to disclose ministers’ outside earnings, it has been reported.
Laura Webster www.thenational.scot
According to the Ministerial Code, the Government must publish a statement “covering relevant ministers’ interests” twice a year – there has not been one published since July 2020. The last to appear before that was in December 2019.
Payments and other interests worth millions of pounds have now not been published for nine months.
Alistair Graham, the former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, has said the failure to publish these interests is “scandalous”.
The failure to put out the information is understood to be linked to the resignation of Alex Allan, the PM’s independent adviser on ministerial standards. He quit the role last year in protest as Johnson refused to sack Priti Patel over alleged bullying.
Allan has not been replaced after four months – it is unclear whether the post was ever advertised.
The revelation that ministers are breaching the rules comes as Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross demands Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation over claims she broke the Scottish Government’s Ministerial Code.
The UK’s latest list on ministers’ interests was due to be published in January and, with Allan’s former position still vacant, it is not clear when this document will be released.
According to OpenDemocracy, it could take months to publish it even once Allan is finally replaced. This is because there is a backlog of 137 ministers to go through, and compiling the information involves interviews and correspondence.
Some ministers have large portfolios to comb through. For example, Jacob Rees-Mogg is estimated to be worth between £70 million and £200m. He also has a 20% share in an asset management firm, among other holdings and investments.
Zac Goldsmith was also included in the most recent Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated net worth of £285m.
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office insisted a new list would be released in “due course”.