| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

UK govt denies corruption accusations over ennobled Conservative Party donors

On Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government rejected new allegations of corruption after a newspaper investigation revealed that major donors to his Conservative Party were given seats in parliament’s upper chamber.

Over the last week, the government has been embroiled in a corruption scandal, with Johnson forced to abandon plans pushed through parliament to protect one of his lawmakers who was found to have violated lobbying rules.

According to the Sunday Times, all but one of the 16 Conservative treasurers over the last two decades have given more than 3 million pounds ($4.05 million) to the party before being offered a seat in the House of Lords.

According to the newspaper, the position of Conservative treasurer has become the most prestigious in the country, surpassing leaders of the country’s institutions and charitable organizations and even former prime ministers.

“Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is corrupt, dodgy, sleazy, and on the take,” said Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, on Twitter.

Environment minister George Eustice dismissed the allegations, telling the BBC, “They are philanthropists who give huge amounts to charity, who have been very successful in business, and thus on those grounds ought to be considered for the Lords.”

Eustice also called the controversy surrounding Conservative lawmaker Owen Paterson, who resigned from parliament following the government’s U-turn on plans to overhaul the system for combating parliamentary corruption, a “storm in a teacup.”

The controversy has raised new concerns about Johnson’s character. Other allegations of wrongdoing have been leveled against him, including plans to have party donors secretly contribute to a luxury renovation of his Downing Street flat. According to Johnson, the government followed the rules when it came to the refurbishment.

According to an Opinium poll for the Observer newspaper, Johnson’s personal approval rating has dropped to its lowest level on record, while the Conservatives’ lead over Labour has shrunk to a single percentage point.”

On Monday, Parliament will hold an emergency debate on standards.

“The prime minister is destroying the reputation of our democracy and our country,” Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Sunday on BBC television.

“It’s a pattern of behavior from a prime minister who doesn’t know how to uphold public standards.”

  • Reuters