Boris Johnson apologises to MPs for failing to declare income in time
He made the apology to the House of Commons having been told to do so after he repeatedly failed to register payments from his newspaper column and books within the set time limit.
In a report, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone, said that the former foreign secretary admitted he had failed to register payments in time on nine occasions in the previous 12 months.
The report recommended that Johnson make an apology to the Commons on a point of order.
Stone said that while the Conservative MP had fully cooperated and promised to address the issue, the amount of money registered late – almost £53,000, or about 70% of his MP’s’ salary – and the number of times it had happened “suggested a lack of attention to the house’s requirements, rather than inadvertent error”.
Under parliamentary rules, MPs are allowed to earn money beyond their official duties but authorities must be notified within 28 days so it can be entered into the register of MPs’ financial interests.
Stone’s report said that in October she received a letter of complaint about Johnson’s weekly column in the Daily Telegraph, for which he is paid nearly £23,000 a month and which he resumed after quitting the cabinet in July, saying this did not seem to have been properly registered.
The letter added that this was “by no means the first time within the past year or so that there has been a failure on his part to comply with the rules”.
Stone said that she was referring her report to the committee on standards because her powers to agree any reprimand or punishment only took effect “where the financial interests are minor or the breach of the rules were inadvertent”. She added: “Neither of those criteria are met in this instance.”