Image caption, A number of Wednesday’s papers lead with the news that former prime minister Boris Johnson – who last year was fined for parties held in Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdown – has been referred to the police by the Cabinet Office over claims he also hosted events at Chequers, the prime ministerial residence in Buckinghamshire. The i says Mr Johnson, who is still an MP, is “fighting for his future” but that he has blamed any appearance of wrongdoing on “abbreviated entries” in his official diary.
Image caption, The alleged visits to Chequers were found in Mr Johnson’s diary by government-funded lawyers who were working on his defence for the public inquiry into the pandemic, according to the Guardian. The paper says the lawyers raised the entries with the Cabinet Office, which was then obliged under the civil service code to refer the matter to the police.
Image caption, The Daily Mirror calls the alleged visits “another lockdown scandal” and quotes a campaigner on behalf of families left bereaved by the pandemic saying Mr Johnson’s “legacy is one of lying”.
Image caption, The Daily Telegraph says little is known for sure about the reported events in questions but that they took place between June 2020 and May 2021. One source tells the paper there were a “handful” of events while another claims there were “more than 10”. The paper says it has been told one alleged event was a lunch at Number 10 for Mr Johnson and his mother, who died in September 2021, and that another was a meeting between Mr Johnson and television presenter Kate Garraway, whose husband was left in a life-threatening condition after catching Covid early in the pandemic.
Image caption, The police referral is described as a “complete stitch up” on the front of the Daily Express. The paper says allies of Mr Johnson have claimed there is a “vendetta” being waged against him, with one source telling it that “these were work meetings, not family or friends or so-called parties”.
Image caption, The Daily Mail says Mr Johnson is “livid” that the government gave extracts from his prime ministerial diaries to the police without telling him. Sources close to Mr Johnson have told the paper he has “already had legal advice that none of the events broke Covid rules” and that he is “seriously considering” taking legal action against the Cabinet Office for defamation.
Image caption, The International Monetary Fund has congratulated the government for reining in inflation but warned that now is not the time to cut taxes, according to the Times. The paper says figures to be published on Wednesday are expected to show that inflation has fallen below 10% for the first time since last August, but quotes the IMF’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, saying that tax cuts would be “neither affordable nor desirable” while it remains high.
Image caption, The Financial Times reports that the governor of the Bank of England has conceded there are “very big lessons to learn” after the central bank failed to forecast the persistently high inflation of the last 18 months. Speaking before the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday, Andrew Bailey said the Bank had taken a “conscious decision” to reduce the role of its forecasting model when setting interest rates because the model was not delivering sufficiently accurate results.
Image caption, Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris, who was jailed in 2014 for a series of indecent assaults on girls dating back to the late 1960s, was cremated at a secret ceremony following his death from cancer earlier this month, the Sun reports.
Image caption, The Metro quotes a statement from Harris’s family that says he “died peacefully surrounded by family and friends and has now been laid to rest”.
Image caption, And the Daily Star’s front page reports that comedian Bob Mortimer has said he wants to “die valiantly fighting a bear”, though adds in a footnote that “some degree of journalistic licence may have been applied” to the story.