Sunak insists donations system ‘transparent’ after Johnson receives £1m

Rishi Sunak has defended the system for declaring MPs’ donations but did not offer any comment after Boris Johnson received £1 million from a Tory donor.

The former prime minister, who was forced from office last summer, recorded a donation of £1 million from Christopher Harborne to the Office of Boris Johnson Ltd in the latest update to the MPs’ Register of Interests.

The scale of the donation has reignited speculation that Mr Johnson still harbours ambitions to continue his political career.

Mr Harborne was among the donors who helped bankroll the Brexit Party and has also donated to the Conservatives.

The private limited company established by Mr Johnson does not carry out commercial business and solely functions as a private office to support him as a former prime minister.

Asked whether such a donation is “appropriate”, Mr Sunak said he was not aware of the details.

Rishi Sunak visit to Scotland
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, centre, visited the Port of Cromarty Firth in northern Scotland on Friday (Russell Cheyne/PA)

“In general we have procedures in place to make sure all donations are declared transparently, which I’m sure is the case here,” the Prime Minister said.

It comes as The Times newspaper reported that Mr Johnson, who currently represents the marginal Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, could be planning to seek a truce with Mr Sunak in exchange for a safer seat at the next general election.

But Mr Sunak told broadcasters during a visit to Scotland: “I think the former prime minister has declared his intention to stand in his current seat in Uxbridge.”

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson also rejected any suggestion he could be seeking a different seat, saying: “This is untrue. Boris Johnson is fully supporting the Government and is standing in Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the next election.”

Since leaving office last September, Mr Johnson has declared more than £1 million in speaking fees.

In December, he recorded around £300,000 for two separate speeches.