Boris Johnson is in hot water after yet again breaking parliamentary rules on financial interests. A highly derogatory Parliamentary Standards Commission report issued on 8 April said Johnson had not "[demonstrated the leadership one would expect of a long-standing and senior Member of the House, nor compliance with the general principles of conduct".
The Commission found Johnson to be 11 months late registering his 20 per cent share in a property in Somerset, from which he drew a share of rental income. MPs who own all or part of properties they rent out that are worth at least £100,000, or £10,000 a year in rental income, must register the shareholding within 28 days — but despite acquiring the interest in the property in January 2018, Johnson didn't register it until a year later.
He claimed this was because he'd misunderstood the rules relating to the threshold above which interests have to be declared. While stating there was "no suggestion" that he'd at any time tried to "deliberately to conceal the extent of his interests", the Commission ruled there was a clear "pattern of behaviour" on Johnson's part.
— Gareth Clark (@gareth4211118) April 8, 2019
"This latest breach reinforces the view which we expressed in our previous report, that he has displayed ‘an over-casual attitude towards obeying the rules of the House', in conjunction with ‘a lack of effective organisation within [his] office'. We find it particularly regrettable Johnson gave an assurance to the Commissioner that registration of financial interests was up to date, and within a very short period it proved not to be. [He] should meet with the Registrar of Members' Financial Interests in person to receive a full briefing about his obligations as a Member to register all relevant interests in accordance with the rules. Should we conclude in future Johnson has committed any further breaches of the rules on registration, we will regard this as a matter which may call for more serious sanction," the Commission concluded.
Same Old Story
Just four months ago Johnson apologised for declaring nine payments amounting to over £52,000 in outside earnings within the 28-day deadline — most of the funds royalties from books he's authored.
Johnson also got into trouble in August 2018 by starting a £275,000-a-year newspaper column a mere three days after quitting as foreign secretary, breaching the Ministerial Code in the process, which states ministers must not take up any outside jobs within three months of leaving office.
— What Does Boris Owe? (@BorisOwes) April 8, 2019
The year prior, he was also three months late registering joint ownership of a London property in 2017.
When grilled over his latest declarative faux pas, Johnson apparently claimed "the rules [should] be clarified so as to reduce the possibility of confusion", but the Commission hit back by saying "the problem lay not with the rules, which we consider are clear, but Johnson's failure to consult the Guide to the Rules which, as the Commissioner states, explains what Members should and should not register. We agree with the Commissioner that "he should have checked more carefully what was required of him".