Formal complaint made to Met Police in call for investigation into PM

The probe would also extend to Boris Johnson's immediate predecessors as prime minister, as well as Conservative party officials.

Formal complaint made to Met Police in call for investigation into PM YouTube
Sleaze row has dominated the discourse at Westminster.

A formal complaint has been made to the Metropolitan Police calling for an investigation into Boris Johnson.

It comes after reports that a select group of multimillionaire donors to the Conservative Party are being offered seats in the House of Lords.

The request for a probe, made by SNP MP Pete Wishart, also extends to Johnson’s immediate predecessors as prime minister, as well as Conservative Party officials.

An investigation by The Sunday Times and Open Democracy found 15 of the last 16 of the Conservative Party’s treasurers have been offered a seat in the Lords having each donated more than £3m to the party.

The letter sent by Pete Wishart to Cressida Dick. (STV News)STV News
The letter sent by Pete Wishart to Cressida Dick. (STV News)

The Tories have denied any link between the donations and the nominations to sit in the Lords, with cabinet minister George Eustice claiming their expertise made them “valuable” members of the Upper Chamber.

The report found that, since 2010, 22 of the party’s main financial donors have been given peerages after donating a combined £54m.

In addition, two Labour Party and five Liberal Democrat major donors have also been handed peerages.

The SNP now wants the Metropolitan Police to launch a probe into the “Tory cash for honours scandal” in order to determine whether any criminal offence has been committed.

Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said: “The Tory corruption scandal is growing worse by the day. It’s now beyond all doubt that the honours system has been abused by the Tories.

“The Metropolitan Police should launch a fresh cash for honours investigation to determine whether a criminal offence has been committed.

“It is utterly appalling that so many millionaire Tory Party donors have been handed life peerages by Boris Johnson and his predecessors.

“But this isn’t just a scandal for the Tories – the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have also been dishing out peerages to donors as though they were sweeties. It is corruption plain and simple – and it absolutely stinks.”

The most controversial appointment was that of Lord Cruddas, who took his seat after Johnson rejected the advice of the House of Lords Appointment Commission not to grant him a peerage.

An ex-party chairman told the newspaper: “The most telling line is once you pay your £3m, you get your peerage.”

But Eustice dismissed the current situation at Westminster as a “storm in a teacup”.

He said: “They are philanthropists who give huge amounts to charity, who have been very successful in business and, therefore, on those grounds ought to be considered for the Lords.”

Meanwhile, Labour is pushing for Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone to investigate the refurbishment of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat and his Marbella holiday in a villa owned by the family of environment minister Lord Goldsmith.

The Prime Minister has already been admonished by the commissioner on four occasions, most recently over a £15,000 holiday to the island of Mustique between December 26, 2019 and January 5, 2020, but this was later overturned by the Committee on Standards.

Issues around standards have dominated debate in Westminster over the past week after the UK Government sought to prevent former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson facing an immediate suspension over an “egregious” breach of lobbying rules, instead backing the creation of a Tory-led committee to look again at the case and overhaul the standards system.

Ministers backed down following a backlash, prompting Paterson to quit the Commons.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Sunday that Johnson is trying to undermine Westminster’s sleaze watchdogs because of his own run-ins with the standards system.

Sir Keir said: “There is a whiff that the Prime Minister would quite like the scrutiny and the standards to be weakened because they are looking too closely at him.”

He claimed the Prime Minister had a sense there is “one rule for him and his mates and another rule for everybody else”.