Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has refused to comment on serious financial allegations which have been made against him by the Sunday Times with regards to Jennifer Arcuri. Arcuri was given public funds when Johnson was the Mayor of London in what is potentially a conflict of interest.
Jon Trickett, the Labour MP for Hemsworth and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a statement:
“With Boris Johnson refusing to answer questions about these allegations of serious conflicts of interest, abuse of power and misuse of public funds, the Cabinet Secretary should launch an investigation.
Despite what his life of privilege has led him to believe, Johnson is not above the law and cannot duck and dodge responsibility. This is a matter of the integrity of the Prime Minister, who appears to think he can get away with anything”.
When asked by journalists today about the situation, the Prime Minister refused to comment.
Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, rejected the criticisms, saying on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“British companies and entrepreneurs go on trade missions. It’s quite right and proper and I’m sure that’s exactly what’s happened there”.
Sadiq Khan, the current Mayor of London, has said that he will be looking into the allegations and will comment shortly.
The Government has said that it will attempt to minimise disruption following the announcement that Carillion is to enter insolvency. The Cabinet Office has confirmed that all public sector services operated by the now insolvent company will continue and measures will be introduced to protect workers and their pensions.
David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a statement:
“It is regrettable that Carillion has not been able to find suitable financing options with its lenders but taxpayers cannot be expected to bail out a private sector company.
Since profit warnings were first issued in July, the government has been closely monitoring the situation and has been in constructive discussion with Carillion while it sought to refinance its business. We remained hopeful that a solution could be found while putting robust contingency plans in place to prepare for every eventuality. It is of course disappointing that Carillion has become insolvent, but our primary responsibility has always been keep our essential public services running safely.
We understand that some members of the public will be concerned by recent news reports. For clarity – All employees should keep coming to work, you will continue to get paid. Staff that are engaged on public sector contracts still have important work to do.
Since its inception in the 1990s private finance has helped to deliver around £60 billion of much-needed capital investment in infrastructure in the UK across a range of projects and we will continue to maintain partnerships with responsible firms in future”.
Jon Trickett, the Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said that there should be an investigation into why Carillion were awarded more Government contracts. He said:
“Alarm bells have been ringing for over six months about the state of Carillion’s finances, so the government must come forward and answer questions on exactly what due diligence measures were undertaken before awarding contracts to Carillion worth billions of taxpayers’ money”.
Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has announced a new settlement with local councils which give them greater financial freedom.
The changes will allow local councils to set their budgets four years ahead with extra money being made available for social care in the community.
In a statement to the House of Commons Clark said:
“These are important times for local government. The devolution of power and resources from Whitehall is gathering momentum.
Today’s settlement means every council will have, for the financial year ahead, at least the resources allocated by the provisional settlement. In addition, we will provide transitional funding for the first 2 years of the Spending Review period for councils as they move from dependence on central government grants to greater financial autonomy.
The government will continue to keep bills down with Council Tax still expected to be lower in real terms in 2019 to 2020 than it was in 2009 to 2010″.
Jon Trickett, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, rejected the claims and said:
“It reminds me of nothing more than someone speeding along the road into a disaster who then says ‘I will take my foot off the accelerator’ without changing the destination. Because local government is facing a disaster”.