UK: Labour Party urges inquiry into No.10 cronyism

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LONDON 

The Labour Party demanded a full inquiry on Saturday on the integrity of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government following revelations from a former chief adviser and ally who accused the leader of cronyism.

Speaking to the BBC News on Saturday, Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the UK’s main opposition party, accused the Tory government of sleaze and urged No. 10 to publish all information relating to the accusations, if it has nothing to hide.

“It matters. It is about integrity, it is about taxpayers’ money. Every day, there is more evidence of this sleaze,” said Starmer, describing Johnson’s attempts at denial as “contemptuous.”

“Frankly, it stinks. If there is nothing to see here, whether it is the refurb of No 10, whether it is the dodgy contracts, whether it is the privileged access, if there is nothing to see, publish everything, have a full inquiry. Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” he added.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon also echoed Starmer’s remarks and called for an inquiry into allegations of illegal contracts that were signed by the government that essentially amount to cronyism.

The Scottish National Party, which Sturgeon heads, has called for Johnson’s call, texts and email records to be made publicly available to allow a full investigation and his government as well as private companies with whom he has been in contact.

“It is time for the Tories to put all their dealings into the public domain and let them be properly investigated,” Sturgeon said, adding that the “stench of sleaze” around the Tory government was “becoming quite overpowering.”

Joining the growing chorus for an inquiry, former attorney general and Tory MP Dominic Grieve described Johnson as a “vacuum of integrity” and asked for an immediate explanation on what funds were used to refurbish the premiere’s residence.

-Former ally turns on former boss

The growing calls and mounting pressure on the prime minister follows an unprecedented and extraordinary attack by former chief adviser and ally Dominic Cummings, who accused his former boss and ideologue of trying to silence and destroy a leak inquiry into the use of Conservative Party donations to refurbish Johnson’s Downing Street apartment.

“It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves,” Cummings said on his blog, and added he warned Johnson about using party donations for personal use.

“I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended,” he said.

Cummings revealed the explosive posts after he was accused of leaking private text messages between Johnson and billionaire businessman James Dyson in which the prime minister agreed to help Dyson and his tax concerns if his company were to manufacture and produce ventilators in the UK during the pandemic.

The former chief adviser rejected any accusations that he was behind the leak, arguing that he had not seen the messages nor were they forwarded to his phone.​​​​​​​

In addition to the allegations of “sleaze” and cronyism, the government has been embroiled with lobbying scandals that involve former Prime Minister David Cameron and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman.

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