Boris Johnson avoids punishment over ‘clear breach’ of rules with Daily Mail column

Boris Johnson avoids punishment over ‘clear breach’ of rules with Daily Mail column

Boris Johnsonwill not be punished despite committing a “clear breach” of the rules in taking a job as a Daily Mail columnist, because further action would be “disproportionate”.

The government’s appointments watchdog found in June that the former PM had committed a "clear and unambiguous breach" of the rules by referring his new job to the watchdog just 30 minutes before it was publicly announced.

Under the rules, ministers who leave government must consult Acoba on any jobs they take within two years of leaving government.

In a letter to deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden, Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) chairman Lord Pickles said it was up to the government to take action.

Lord Pickles also called for urgent reform of the “good chaps” approach to ministerial jobs.

In a reply published on Thursday, Mr Dowden noted that Mr Johnson had committed a “breach” of the rules.

But he said it “would be disproportionate to undertake further action in these circumstances”.

“The Cabinet Office accepts the committee’s assessment, and notes that the risks surrounding media appointments are limited and typically subject to the conditions that former ministers are already required to abide by following their departure from office,” he said.

Mr Johnson was forced out of Downing Street in July last year after a series of scandal including Partygate and his handling of groping allegations against former Tory whip Chris Pincher.

And in June he quit as an MP days before a ruling by a parliamentary committee that he lied to MPs over Partygate.

Days later he was unveiled as a Daily Mail columnist, reportedly being paid £1m a year for his weekly feature.

He has since used the column to pay tribute to the “heroes” who died in the Titan submersible tragedy and lashed out at “lefties” questioning the expedition to the Titanic wreckage.

Mr Johnson disclosed he has taken the controversial drug alleged to be behind some celebrities’ dramatic weight loss.

And he has claimed the late Queen joked: “Were you naked?” when he revealed he had a nightmare about being late to meet her and her husband.

It was reported in July that Mr Johnson has been raking in an astonishing £21,000 an hour in work from the speaking circuit and other lucrative gigs outside of politics since quitting as PM.

As well as making around £4.2m from speaking events in the past year, Mr Johnson struck a £510,000 deal with HarperCollins in January to pen a memoir “like no other”.