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Boris Johnson referred to police over alleged breach of COVID rules (again) – POLITICO

LONDON — Boris Johnson has been referred to the police for the second time after his own legal team raised concerns he broke COVID lockdown rules.

The former British Prime Minister is facing an investigation by the Metropolitan and Thames Valley Police following suggestions, first reported by The Times, that potential new incidents of rule breaking have been uncovered during preparations for an investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the newspaper, lawyers are said to have been concerned that entries in Johnson’s ministerial diaries appeared to suggest he had received visitors both at 10 Downing Street and at the Prime Minister’s Grace and Favor country house , Checkers, at a time when gatherings were illegal.

The Cabinet Office said in a statement that the new information had been uncovered as part of “the normal disclosure review”. He added: “In accordance with the obligations of the Civil Service Code, this material has been passed on to the competent authorities and it is now their business.”

Scotland Yard has confirmed it received reports of potential breaches of health protection regulations at Downing Street between June 2020 and May 2021, when the UK was in different stages of lockdown; the force did not confirm Johnson’s connection to the case.

Thames Valley Police, which covers Checkers, told The Times they had received a similar report relating to the same period.

Johnson’s spokesman insisted he had done nothing wrong, adding: ‘Certain abbreviated entries from Mr Johnson’s official diary were questioned by the Cabinet Office in preparation for the inquiry COVID. After reviewing the entries, lawyers for Mr Johnson wrote to the Cabinet Office and the Privileges Committee explaining that the events were legal and did not constitute any breach of COVID regulations.

Johnson received a fixed penalty notice and a £50 fine last year after being found guilty of breaking lockdown rules on his birthday at No 10 – an event dismissed by an ally as ” ambushed by a cake”.

The scandal ultimately contributed to the movement of his deputies against him, leading to his resignation last July.

Johnson remains under a parliamentary inquiry into allegations he misled the House of Commons about the various parties being held in Downing Street during the lockdown.

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