Johnson had cousin act as ‘guarantor for an £800,000 credit facility’ while PM, reports

Former prime minister Boris Johnson reportedly used a millionaire cousin as a guarantor for an £800,000 credit facility (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
Former prime minister Boris Johnson reportedly used a millionaire cousin as a guarantor for an £800,000 credit facility (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson used a distant millionaire relative to act as a guarantor for an £800,000 credit facility while he was in Downing Street, according to a report.

A spokesman for the former Conservative leader, when asked about the report, said all of Mr Johnson’s finances “are and were properly declared”.

He said advice was sought from UK Government officials and ethics advisers before any personal arrangements were made.

According to The Sunday Times, Canadian businessman Sam Blyth, reportedly worth 50 million dollars, agreed to act as a guarantor for a credit facility for the-then Prime Minister.

According to the report, Mr Blyth is a friend of Mr Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson. Their mothers were said to be cousins.

The credit was said to be available from February 2021 to help with Mr Johnson’s “day-to-day expenses”.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman stressed that he “did not take a loan from Sam Blyth”.

The newspaper said he needed the financial provision despite earning £164,000 as Prime Minister, with an anonymous source cited as saying Mr Johnson was on the verge of “going broke” and there were fears that he “would not be able to pay his own annual tax bill”.

Before entering Downing Street, he was being paid £275,000 a year for writing a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph — money that dried up upon entering No 10.

Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie are also said to have used a Dominican Republic property owned by Mr Blyth, suggesting it was where he was holidaying when Liz Truss, his successor, was ousted from Downing Street.

Mr Blyth reportedly advertises the Caribbean holiday villa at £4,100 per night.

The Sunday Times said using Mr Blyth as a guarantor was signed off by the Cabinet Office propriety and ethics team on the condition that there was “no conflict of interest, no risk of a conflict of interest, and no risk even of the perception of such a conflict”.

The report said Mr Blyth was considered, between late 2020 and early 2021 – when the guarantor arrangements were being put into place – for a position as chief executive of the British Council, a non-departmental public body.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said the Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP neither assisted with nor was aware of Mr Blyth being considered for the British Council role.

The report said Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and then-independent ethics adviser to the Prime Minister Lord Geidt were also unaware.

The council ended up deciding against hiring Mr Blyth, The Sunday Times said.

In a statement, Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “It is completely untrue that Boris Johnson in any way assisted with, or was even aware of, any application by Sam Blyth – formal or informal – to serve in any position whatever with the British Council, and neither was anybody in No 10 who was acting on his behalf.

“As far as he is aware no-one in No 10 either knew about this alleged application or did anything to advance it.”

The spokesman added: “All Boris Johnson’s financial interests are and were properly declared.

“Boris Johnson sought advice from the Cabinet Secretary, the independent adviser on ministerial interests, and the propriety and ethics team.

“He followed their advice in full, as the Cabinet Office has confirmed.”