Prime Ministers of the Caribbean: Investigation into Boris Johnson’s holiday to the Caribbean

March 28, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has launched an investigation into Boris Johnson’s mystery week-long holiday in the Caribbean. This comes after the person who Boris alleged footed the bill for the trip denied any involvement in the ownership or funding of the luxury villa.

What does this mean?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson took a week-long holiday in the Caribbean early this year to celebrate his election win. He declared, as all Ministers must, that this holiday was due to David Ross, the former deputy Chairman of Carphone Warehouse. However, Mr. Ross has denied funding the £15,000 cost of the two week stay, or owning the villa the PM and Carrie Symonds stayed in. Shadow Cabinet Minister Jon Trickett alleged a formal complaint, and the Chair of the Committee Kathryn Stone made the decision to move forward with an investigation.

What's the big picture effect?

As elected representatives of the public, ministers hold large amounts of power through their votes on different matters that pass in front of them. As such, strict rules govern them on registering any money or assets they receive so as to ensure there is no bias or bribery in their decision making. These rules also ensure money comes from so called “permissible sources” to prevent things like tax evasion or money laundering. Ministers have, in the past, faced scrutiny for not filing or incorrectly meeting these requirements. Boris Johnson himself was disciplined by the committee in early 2019 for failing to declare monies he had received within the 28-day time limit (set out by the Electoral Commission’s rules). 

There are currently 3 investigations into the Prime Minister (including an investigation over the relationship Boris had with Jennifer Arcuri when Boris was Mayor of London) being undertaken by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. These could have possible criminal implications. The question must be asked: Why can’t the Prime Minister simply disclose how he ended up staying in a luxury villa for free? Downing Street has alleged that nothing was untoward about the arrangement, and that Mr. Ross simply ‘facilitated’ the stay, which they say constitutes him being listed as the provider of the holiday. The implications of Ms. Stone’s investigation could be massive if Boris is again found to have breached the Commission’s rules.

Report written by Hari Majumdar

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