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Boris Johnson has branded suggestions he may have taken part in rule-breaking during the pandemic a “load of absolute rubbish”.
The former prime minister would not say who he believes is trying to “stitch him up”, having previously claimed he appears to be the victim of a politically motivated conspiracy.
But he insisted that the Cabinet Office’s decision to hand over entries from his official diary during the pandemic to police without questioning him was “ridiculous”.
Number 10 and the Cabinet Office are adamant that ministers were not involved when Whitehall officers raised concerns with the Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police.
According to The Times, the entries revealed visits by Johnson’s friends to Checkers – the prime minister’s country estate – and events in Downing Street during the pandemic that broke the story.
The new information is said to have emerged during a review by taxpayer-funded lawyers ahead of the Covid public inquiry.
Johnson was catching a flight to Washington DC on Friday as part of his trip to the US, where he was talking about the war in Ukraine when a Sky News reporter asked him about the revelations.
“You want my honest opinion, I think it’s complete nonsense,” he said.
When asked what the entries represent, he replied: “They only record the events of my day.”
Johnson was previously fined in June 2020 for attending a gathering in Downing Street to mark his birthday – one of a series of political crises that eventually led to the end of his premiership.
“The whole thing is nonsense from beginning to end … I think it ridiculous that elements in my diary should be cherry-picked and handed over to the Committee of Privileges to the police, even Don’t even have basic common sense to ask me what these entries refer to,” he said.
Asked if he believed Sunak was trying to stitch him up, he said: “I think it is completely absurd and bizarre. There are thousands of entries in the Prime Minister’s diary… none of them Doesn’t violate rules during Covid.”
Johnson suggested that none of the entries in question pertain to periods when the country was in lockdown, but to times when other restrictions were in place.
He said: “For reasons – someone, somewhere, thinks it is sensible to do so – not me.”
The Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether Johnson lied to Parliament about the Partygate scandal, has also been informed of the new information.
The result adds to the problems facing Sunak, who was given a fixed penalty with Johnson over the June 2020 incident and is now facing backlash from allies of the former prime minister.
His press secretary said Sunak “certainly” did not go to grace and favor in breach of coronavirus rules when he was chancellor during the pandemic.
The spokesperson said the prime minister has not discussed the controversy with his predecessor.
Johnson indicated in a letter to the chair of the Covid inquiry that he was breaking ties with the taxpayer-funded lawyers representing him.
He is understood to have lost faith in the Cabinet Office.
Labor leader Keir Starmer said on Friday the public was “fed up with back teeth” stories about the former prime minister.
“These deeply personal things and the increasing revelations about Boris Johnson, I think, just add to that sentiment and people are fed up with it,” he said.
“I think there are questions now about why these allegations didn’t come out earlier, all these allegations.