Boris Johnson offers 'unreserved apology' in Commons after breaching expenses rules

Posted On: 
6th December 2018

Boris Johnson has apologised to MPs after he breached rules on declaring earnings for his book royalties.

Boris Johnson apologises to MPs.
PA Images

The former Foreign Secretary took too long to register nine payments, amounting to almost £53,000 in outside earnings.

A damning report by the Commons Committee on Standards said Mr Johnson took an “over-casual attitude” to parliamentary rules and should apologise.

Boris Johnson slammed after breaching government rules over new Telegraph column

EXCL Tory minister: I would find it 'difficult' to serve under PM Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson under fire over £14,000 all-expenses paid trip to Saudi Arabia

Most of the late registrations were for royalties or advance payments on books he has already written - with the longest delay an astonishing 11 weeks.

Mr Johnson had already admitted to the parliamentary watchdog that he did accidentally breach the rules and apologised for any “unintended delay”.

The document said that the ex-Foreign Secretary's apology should address the specific comments made Report, and that future registrations of payments are made "in a timely way".

In a Commons statement this morning, he told MPs: "I fully accept that the delay was a breach of the House’s rules and though I’m grateful to the committee for recognising that there was no intention to mislead the House and that I have been completely transparent I therefore offer the House a full and unreserved apology."

Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone said that the number of breaches by the Tory bigwig suggested a “lack of attention to” the rules “rather than oversight or inadvertent error”.

She referred the issue to the Committee on Standards because she thought the punishment might be bigger than she has the power to hand out.

The Committee agreed that Mr Johnson had an “over-casual attitude towards obeying the rules of the House and a lack of effective organisation” in his office.

It also said the former Foreign Secretary should be “expected to set an example” to other MPs since he was a recent holder of one of the great offices of state and had served over four parliaments.

But it noted that there were no grounds to believe he “intended to deceive the House or the general public” and admitted the payments were ad-hoc, which would make them less easy to be on top of.

The report added that the relevant payments be italicised in the Register to indicate that they are late entries.”

Mr Johnson was also reprimanded by the revolving door watchdog earlier this year after he failed to notify it before taking a job as a Telegraph columnist.