Boris Johnson Does Not Need To Resign If He Has Broken Ministerial Code, Minister Says

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 

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. 

3 thoughts on “Boris Johnson Does Not Need To Resign If He Has Broken Ministerial Code, Minister Says

  1. Yes – it is official – from the mouth of a Conservative Minister – it is perfectly OK for Boris to ignore the rules that have been in place for years and that he knew he had to follow when he took the job without consequence. In other words Boris is totally unaccountable to Parliament and to the public.


    • No surprise here, he has let his Home Sec stay on. The ministerial code ought to perhaps to be part of the criminal code-that just might make a few abide by it.


    • Of course, the Government is currently facing a literal barrage of high court actions about their sleaze and lack of accountability. So whilst these are civil actions rather than criminal prosecutions, with sufficient will and effort from campaign groups, it is possible to attempt to hold Boris and cronies to account for some of the more outrageous actions.

      I guess the key point is that this extraordinary level of effort needed even to attempt to hold the government to account should not be necessary – accountability should be the automatic default. Indeed, A) transparency (see the scandal of a team dedicated to avoiding answering FoI requests by journalists) and B) accountability; and C) honesty and integrity are fundamental aspects of genuine democracy. Without them we live in a fake democracy – and that is the state of UK politics today, a fake democracy bordering on being an authoritarian state, with extensive political propaganda masquerading as journalism leading to a state of brainwashing in a significant proportion of the population.

      Indeed, I challenge anyone to explain why the UK today is NOT like Orwell’s 1984?


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