The Labour Party has demanded an independent “conflict of interest” inquiry into Boris Johnson, over claims that the prime minister’s backers will profit hugely from a “no deal” Brexit.
John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, has written to the UK’s most senior civil servant, Cabinet Office secretary Mark Sedwill, calling for an investigation into alleged collusion with currency speculators.
The demand is based on comments by Mr Johnson’s sister Rachel and claims by former chancellor – now an Independent MP – Philip Hammond that speculators were investing in “short” positions – betting on the pound plummeting and inflation rocketing – after a “no deal” Brexit.
It has been reported that they could make more than £8 billion – while the rest of us suffer.
In his letter to Sir Mark, the shadow chancellor said there had been widespread reports of increases in short positions taken against sterling in the lead-up to a possible no-deal Brexit.
Mr Johnson and the Conservative party had received “a significant sum” in donations from no-deal backers, a number of who are involved in hedge funds, he said. Meanwhile, the PM has made it clear he is ready to go ahead with a no-deal outcome to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
“These three facts have caused concern that the prime minister may have a conflict of interest,” wrote Mr McDonnell. “Donors to the Conservative party and/or the prime minister could stand to gain from a no-deal Brexit – even if only through cushioning losses by adopting short positions. The prime minister could reasonably be seen as having an interest in securing a no-deal Brexit to financially benefit his donors.”
He added: “It is becoming increasingly apparent from public comment that the prime minister is bringing into doubt whether he is upholding the highest standards, thereby further undermining public confidence and trust in him and his government… It is important for public confidence and trust in the House of Commons that any real or apparent conflict of interest is investigated.”
“The prime minister could reasonably be seen as having an interest in securing a no-deal Brexit to financially benefit his donors.”
No UK public servant can serve two masters in such a way, and for a prime minister the good of the nation must come before any personal benefit to that person, their friends or supporters.
The Jennifer Arcuri scandal has already placed significant doubt on Mr Johnson’s loyalties. The British public consider him entirely capable of putting the interests of himself and his financiers before those of the nation.
And in the meantime the Brexit deadline clock is ticking down to October 31.
Mr Sedwill must agree to this inquiry, and it must be carried out with haste. Everybody needs to know the facts before it is too late.
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