Boris Johnson sacks lawyers after being fired by police over alleged COVID rule breaches – Reuters
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LONDON — Boris Johnson has cut ties with the government-appointed lawyers who were due to represent him in Britain’s coronavirus inquiry, following a row over alleged breaches of lockdown rules.
In a letter to the official inquiry into the UK’s handling of the pandemic, the former British Prime Minister wrote that he is “currently seeking new lawyers to represent me in the inquiry” and that he is now ‘unrepresented’ as he seeks public funding. for his legal fees.
It comes after Johnson was referred to the police for the second time when his own legal team raised concerns with the UK government’s Cabinet Office that he may have breached COVID lockdown rules.
The former Tory leader faces an investigation by the Metropolitan and Thames Valley Police following suggestions, first reported by The Times, that potential new incidents of rule breaking have been uncovered by his lawyers during the preparations for the official investigation.
News that Johnson had been referred to the police sparked further Tory bickering in Westminster.
Johnson’s office issued a hard-hitting statement on Wednesday evening accusing the government of Rishi Sunak’s successor of “politically motivated confusion” by making “unfounded suggestions to both the police and the privileges committee”, a team of MPs conducting its own investigation into Johnson’s conduct. .
The Cabinet Office denied that any government ministers were involved in the removal.
A spokesman said: ‘The Cabinet Office has made no assessment or investigation of the material which has been passed to the police. Ministers played no role in deciding whether the information should be passed on to the police.
Elsewhere, the body in charge of the official public inquiry is locked in its own fight with the Cabinet Office.
He threatened legal action over the department’s refusal to share unredacted information about Johnson’s handling of the pandemic with the investigation.
In an April notice first published on Wednesday, Inquiry Chair Heather Hallett requested copies of Johnson’s communications, diaries and WhatsApp notebooks without heavy redactions. Documents show the Cabinet Office initially rejected the request and argued it was illegal.
In response, Hallett said she believed the original order was within the law and reiterated that failure to comply without a reasonable excuse would be a criminal offence.