Civil service head will investigate alleged breach of ministerial code by Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson. ‘The ministers involved have shown an astonishing lack of judgment,’ the head of the senior civil servants’ union said [Image: Pavel Neubauer/AP].

Yes, Jeremy Heywood is going to investigate the alleged misuse of public funds on an organisation whose aims are not those of the government.

Don’t get your hopes up, though. You know the worst Mr Johnson will get is a mild slap on the wrist.

He’ll probably think it’s foreplay.

Boris Johnson has been accused of breaching the ministerial code in an “astonishing lack of judgment” by allowing the launch of a right-leaning thinktank on Foreign Office premises. The Institute for Free Trade (IFT), set up and headed by the arch-Brexiter Daniel Hannan, held its first public meeting on Wednesday in the grand surroundings of the FCO’s Map Room, with guests including Johnson, Michael Gove and Liam Fox.

Critics accused the foreign secretary of allowing public resources to be misused as Hannan called for the government to move towards a Singapore-style economy after Britain leaves the EU. Theresa May reassured EU leaders this week that Britain was not seeking to become an offshore tax haven like Singapore.

Lord Falconer claimed the event was in breach of the ministerial code because the aims of the institute are not supported by the government. The former Labour lord chancellor wrote on Twitter: “Foreign Sec in breach of min code (7.12) in allowing FCO to be venue for launch of Institute of Free Trade which conflicts with govt policy.”

The code says: “Ministers should take care to ensure that they do not become associated with non-public organisations whose objectives may in any degree conflict with government policy and thus give rise to a conflict of interest.”

A government spokesperson confirmed that Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, would examine a complaint about the launch. “The cabinet secretary has received a letter of complaint and he will reply in due course,” the spokesperson said.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of breaching ministerial code over thinktank launch | Politics | The Guardian

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