Boris Johnson does not necessarily have to resign as Prime Minister if he is found to have broken the ministerial code, according to foreign office minister James Cleverly.
Adam Payne www.politicshome.com
Cleverly, the Conservative MP for Braintree, told Sky News on Monday that if Johnson is deemed to have breached the rules stipulating how ministers are expected to act when in office, it is not as “straightforward” as simply stepping down.
Cleverly said the ministerial code was “there for the guidance of the Prime Minister in appointing ministers” and that it was too “simple” to say Johnson himself should resign if an investigation finds he has breached it.
Douglas Ross MP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday that the Prime Minister should resign if is found to have breached the ministerial code.
“Of course, I think people expect the highest standards of those in the highest office of the land,” he told Marr when asked whether Johnson should step aside in those circumstances.
The Prime Minister continues to face pressure to explain who initially paid for the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.
Johnson insists he has covered the cost of the work, which is believed to have come to £58,000, but has repeatedly dodged questions over who paid for the refurbishment in the first instance, amid claims that it was initially funded by donors to the Conservative party.
There are three investigations into the refurbishment, including an Electoral Commission probe.
However, Johnson as arbitrator of the ministerial code will get the final say on whether he has broken the rules, regardless of what the investigations looking at the refurbishment conclude.
Cleverly was reluctant to discuss what should happen if Johnson is deemed to have broken the code, telling Sky News he did not want to “speculate as to what the outcome of things might be”.
“The Prime Minister has already set out his explanation,” he said.
“He has answered the questions that have been put to him. I don’t know any more detail than what the prime minister has already said.
He added: “Until we know what’s in the report it’s pointless speculating about what actions might be taken.