U.K. Government to Investigate the Leak of Boris Johnson-Dyson Texts
(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. government launched an internal investigation into the leak of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s private text messages with billionaire James Dyson.
The Cabinet Office will attempt to find out who divulged their exchange in March last year, Johnson’s spokesman Max Blain told reporters Thursday. There will be no involvement of the police or security services.
Johnson faced criticism when the BBC published on Wednesday snippets of a correspondence in which Dyson appeared to seek a tax waiver for workers he was bringing in from abroad to work on the government’s ventilator challenge.
Johnson replied that he would “fix it” tomorrow, before later saying “Rishi says it is fixed,” a reference to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
“I can confirm we have instructed the Cabinet Office to look into this,” Blain told reporters. Until yesterday, Johnson’s office had said there would be no such probe.
Blain said the inquiry would focus solely on the leak of texts between Johnson and Dyson, and would not look at leaked messages with other high-profile figures including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Daily Mail reported last week that the prince asked Johnson last June to order the Premier League to “reconsider” its decision to stop the takeover of Newcastle United Football Club by a Saudi Arabia-led investor group.
Johnson then asked his senior aide, Edward Lister, to “check on the progress of the talks as a potential major foreign investment in the U.K.,” according to Blain last week, but “didn’t ask him to intervene.”
The relationship between government and business is coming under scrutiny after the collapse of lender Greensill Capital pulled back the curtain on the kind of lobbying that goes on. It’s also given the opposition a line of attack ahead of local elections next month.
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