As I say, to a large extent this story is about the principles which govern our politics, there are also potential questions about personal behaviour as well-especially as to whether the PM pays enough attention to the rules expected of MPs.
That is partly what the former Chair of the PAC is referring to here and is part of the basis of her complaint about the Prime Minister
And the PM does have some form on this. Largely forgotten now but in July 2018, within weeks of resigning as Foreign Sec, he signed a contract with the Telegraph for a weekly column but didn’t apply to ACOBA for permission. He should have done.
Baroness Acoba, then chair wrote to Boris Johnson on 8th August saying: “The committee considers it unacceptable that you signed a contract with The Telegraph before you had sought and obtained advice from the Committee, as was incumbent upon you leaving office under Govt rules.”
Those rules are embodied within the Ministerial Code, a fact ACOBA said meant that his was “a failure to comply with your duty”. He had been reminded about this by the Permenant Secretary by letter- a letter Johnson claimed he did not receive before signing the contract.
In 2018 Boris Johnson was forced to apologise in Parliament by the Standards Commissioner for for late declaration of £52k or outside earnings. The Commissioner said:Although Mr Johnson has told me that the late registrations were ‘inadvertent’, the fact that the late...”
“...registrations had happened on four separate occasions and involved nine payments, suggests a lack of attention to, or regard for, the House’s requirements rather than oversight or inadvertent error.”
The cross party committee on standards later said that Mr Johnson had not “intended to deceive the House or the general public about the level of his remuneration”, but did criticise his “over-casual attitude” to the rules.
NB apologies this should be Baroness Browning, not Baroness Acoba! Though that would have been some grade A political nominative determinism
Then in April 2019, shortly before he became Prime Minister, Mr Johnson was again rebuked by the Standards Commissioner and Committee. This time over failing to declare a share in a Somerset property he had acquired according to the rules.
The Committee said this latest episode adverted to a “pattern of behaviour” with regards to Mr Johnson’s approach to the rules. They also expressed disappointment because Johnson as part of the previous investigation had given his assurance that his registry was up to date...
...but “that proved not to be the case".

The Commissioner said of this latest problem that it did “not demonstrate the leadership which one would expect of a long-standing and senior member of the House.”
And of course there is the more contemporary controversy over Boris Johnson’s New Year 2019/20 holiday to Mustique. There has been confusion as to exactly who paid for it. We’ll soon find out about a potential investigation.
So all of this, in terms of Boris Johnson’s chequered relationship with the rules which govern ministers and MPs which is to some extent at least, the context and background to this latest episode with the flat.
This is especially important in our system where, in terms of of the Ministerial Code at least, the Prime Minister is ultimate arbiter and guarantor.
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