Boris Johnson would do well to remember the principles of high office

Editorial: The prime minister should not dismiss events like an Electoral Commission investigation with his customary insouciance

Wednesday 28 April 2021 22:56
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oris Johnson may well be right when he says that the British public isn’t much moved about the wallpaper lining in the prime minister’s Downing Street quarters.

However, it would surely not be acceptable, even in our ever-more degraded political culture, for the prime minister of the day to have to stand trial in court. There could be no argument that the public would care then. In effect, Mr Johnson is in the preliminary stages of the British equivalent of a US-style impeachment, but without the political dimension that saved Donald Trump. Mr Johnson’s future may be decided in the courts, not the Commons. 

That indeed may prove to be the eventual outcome of the Electoral Commission’s investigation into the funding of the refurbishment of the prime minister’s quarters. Although Mr Johnson has denied any wrongdoing, and the government has insisted the prime minister met all costs of the makeover “personally”. Downing Street has said Mr Johnson will cooperate with the Electoral Commission’s inquiry, but has said the investigation is “a specific matter for the Conservative Party”.

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