“Boris doesn’t really believe anything except people like him should be left alone to do what they want,” one former Boris Johnson aide told me. Indeed, Johnson has reportedly earned more than £4m from his outside interests in the past 14 years.
Perhaps this helps to explain his woeful mishandling of the Owen Paterson affair and his reluctance to tighten the MPs’ code of conduct. On Monday, the Commons will formally overturn the ill-fated decision to change the system of investigating complaints against MPs to try to save Paterson’s skin. Johnson should use this opportunity to apologise for the fiasco and to support moves to restrict MPs’ second jobs – including a ban on acting as parliamentary consultants.
But he probably won’t. Cabinet ministers including Rishi Sunak, Steve Barclay and Nadhim Zahawi have been much more contrite than Johnson; it is not in his DNA to say sorry. This is compounding the damage to him and his party from a controversy that was his own making.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies