Boris Johnson sacks lawyers after police referral over COVID rule-breaking claims

Politico reports

LONDON — Boris Johnson severed ties with the government-appointed lawyers who were set to represent him in the U.K.’s coronavirus inquiry, in the wake of a row over alleged breaches of lockdown rules.

In a letter to the official probe into the U.K.’s handling of the pandemic, the ex-British prime minister wrote that he is “currently instructing new solicitors to represent me in the inquiry” and that he is now “unrepresented” as he seeks public funding for his legal bills.

It comes after Johnson was referred to police for a second time when his own legal team raised concerns with the U.K. government’s Cabinet Office that he may have breached COVID lockdown rules.

The former Conservative leader faces an investigation by the Metropolitan and Thames Valley Police following suggestions, first reported by the Times, that fresh potential incidents of rule-breaking were unearthed by his lawyers during preparations for the official inquiry.

The news Johnson had been referred to the police prompted fresh Conservative infighting in Westminster.

Johnson’s office issued a punchy statement accusing successor Rishi Sunak’s government of “a politically motivated stitch-up” by making “unfounded suggestions both to the police and to the privileges committee,” a team of MPs carrying out its own probe into Johnson’s conduct.

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