In recent days, Boris Johnson and his Conservative party have faced a series of sleaze allegations over MPs’ lobbying, other jobs and the prime minister’s own economic affairs.
At a time when Mr Johnson was hoping the focus would be on the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Sky News takes a look at the growing accusations facing the Tories.
Owen Paterson lobbying scandal
The catalyst for the current onslaught of sleaze allegations was the government’s attempt to rescue former ministers Owen Paterson from a 30-day suspension from the House of Commons.
It came after Mr Paterson was found by Parliament’s sleaze watchdog for violating lobbying rules during his £ 110,000 a year work in the private sector for two companies.
Tory MPs, encouraged by the Prime Minister, blocked an immediate suspension for Mr Paterson and voted in favor of a revision of the Commons’ standard rules by a new Conservative majority committee.
But after a violent setback that saw the government branded “corrupt” – as well as a promise from opposition parties to boycott the new committee – Mr Johnson performed a U-turn just a few hours later.
Paterson subsequently resigned as a Member of Parliament to leave the “cruel world of politics” as he maintained his innocence.
The prime minister remains under pressure – including from his own Tory MPs – to apologize for the altercation.
A new Commons vote on the results against Mr Paterson is due to take place next week.
Exministers £ 800,000 legal work in Caribbean
The controversy over Mr Paterson’s lobbying led to a new inquiry into MPs’ other jobs, including Sir Geoffrey Cox, who is one of Parliament’s biggest outside payers.
The conservative former justice minister was revealed to have voted by proxy in the Commons, which was allowed under COVID schemes earlier this year, while earning hundreds of thousands of pounds for legal work more than 4,000 miles away in the Caribbean.
Sir Geoffrey has so far earned more than £ 800,000 for his work for the law firm Withers, which represents the government of the British Virgin Islands during a corruption investigation.
He has declared hundreds of hours of legal work in recent months, but has only spoken in one Commons debate since he was fired from the government in February 2020.
Labor has called on the Prime Minister to “show leadership” and order an “independent inquiry” into Sir Geoffrey’s lucrative legal work.
They have suggested that Sir Geoffrey’s voters in his Torridge and West Devon seats “may wonder if Geoffrey Cox is a Caribbean-based lawyer or a Conservative MP”.
‘Cash for honors’
Metropolitan Police are “considering” a letter sent to them by the SNP calls on the force to launch a “cash for honors” survey.
It comes after a Sunday Times report showed that 15 of the last 16 of the Conservative party’s treasurers have been offered a seat in the House of Lords, each donating more than £ 3 million to the Tories.
They include Lord Cruddas, who took his seat after the Prime Minister rejected the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission not to give him a peerage.
A former party chairman was quoted by the newspaper as saying: “The truth is that the whole political establishment knows this is happening and they do nothing about it … The most telling line is that once you have paid your 3 million . £, you get your peerage. “
But the Conservative Party has said it “does not believe that successful businessmen and philanthropists who contribute to political causes and parties should be disqualified from sitting in the Legislative Assembly”.
The Prime Minister’s holiday in Marbella
The prime minister enjoyed a free holiday in southern Spain last month thanks to a former MP he turned into a peer.
In an update of his register of ministerial interests, this has been confirmed Johnson lived in a holiday home with Lord Goldsmith’s family “for free”.
Lord Goldsmith is a government minister who was previously a Conservative MP for Richmond Park before losing his seat in the 2019 general election.
Despite his rejection of voters in the south-west London constituency, Mr Johnson subsequently made Lord Goldsmith a Tory peer in the House of Lords, allowing him to retain his ministerial role.
Questions have been asked as to why the holiday was not declared by Mr Johnson in the separate register of MPs’ interests.
This has given rise to speculation that the Prime Minister did not want to declare an approximate value of the free holiday, with the Goldsmith’s holiday home usually costing as much as £ 25,000 a week to rent.
Labor has written to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog to ask if Mr Johnson has broken the rules.
But Downing Street has said the prime minister’s holiday has been properly declared.
The prime minister’s ministerial adviser, Lord Geidt, had scrutinized the statement as part of the process, number 10 added.
Prime Minister’s apartment renovation
Earlier this year, it was announced that the Election Commission was implementing one formal investigation into the Prime Minister’s renovation of his Downing Street apartment.
This was followed by growing questions about how and when Mr Johnson’s renovation of his private apartment, above 11 Downing Street, was paid for.
The Election Commission is considering whether the laws on political donations were broken on the basis of reports that multimillionaire Tory donor Lord Brownlow offered £ 58,000 to fund the work on the home.
Follow the daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Speaker
In a separate investigation, Lord Geidt has already cleared Mr Johnson of breaking ministerial rules.
But he said the prime minister “unwise” allowed the renovation to continue without “more stringent consideration” of how it would be funded.
It was reported last week that officials from the Conservative Party have been handed the first results of the election commission’s own investigation into the matter.
The Daily Telegraph said the near completion of the Election Commission’s work raised the possibility that Parliament’s Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, would soon launch her own inquiry.