Boris Johnson has silk ties and luxury food hampers confiscated for exceeding limits on gifts to MPs

·2-min read

Boris Johnson has had expensive silk ties, bespoke chinaware and other lavish goods confiscated by Cabinet Office officials because they would have broken corruption rules, the government has revealed.

Luxury food hampers from the Sultan of Brunei were among the items taken away from the prime minister because they all exceeded strict limits on freebies.

The ministerial code, aimed at preventing individuals exerting indue influence over our politicians, means MPs cannot accept any gifts valued over £140.

Mr Johnson was also gifted a leather writing folder and handbag, a painting and another artwork of unspecified value – but won’t get to keep them. They have been removed for “disposal” for exceeding limits.

The latest Cabinet Office data release also revealed that Mr Johnson held a series of meetings with newspapers editor and BBC new chiefs in November and December of 2020.

The PM met with the Daily Mail editor Geordie Grieg, The Sun’s editor Victoria Newton, The Sunday Telegraph editor Alister Heath, the Daily Telegraph’s director of content Chris Evans on 27 November. The BBC’s director of news Fran Unsworth and chief executive Tim Davie also attended the meeting.

Mr Johnson also met the editor of the Sunday Times on 3 December and editor of The Times five days later, before holding a meeting with the editor of the Daily Express and Financial Times on 17 December.

Downing Street did not share any of the details from the discussions, saying only that the prime minister conducted regular meetings with newspaper editors.

The Cabinet Office transparency data also shows that Mr Johnson declared £2,320 in travel costs for flying to Brussels on 9 December last year, part of his bid to help secure a Brexit trade deal.

Carrie Symonds with Boris Johnson outside polling stationPA
Carrie Symonds with Boris Johnson outside polling stationPA

It comes as it emerged that Mr Johnson is being investigated for a possible breach of Commons rules over a £15,000 Christmas holiday in the Caribbean with fiancee Carrie Symonds.

Mr Johnson is on a list of MPs under investigation by the parliamentary commissioner for standards, which had been kept under wraps during the campaign for the May elections, but has now been revealed by the independent commissioner Kathryn Stone.

Ms Stone’s list reveals she is looking into the mystery of who funded Mr Johnson’s luxury Caribbean holiday on the island of Mustique at Christmas 2019.

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