Former UK leader Boris Johnson faces new police probe over lockdown visits

LONDON (AP) — Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was fined for breaking his own government’s pandemic lockdown rules, has been reported to police again over more potential breaches.

The Times of London said Tuesday that Johnson was reported by civil servants over alleged visits to Chequers, the prime minister’s official country retreat, as well as potential breaches in the leader’s Downing Street residence.

The Metropolitan Police force and Thames Valley Police said they were assessing details relating to incidents between June 2020 and May 2021.

The Times said the potential breaches came to light while Johnson was preparing his testimony to Britain’s upcoming inquiry into how the country handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet Office, a government department which supports the work of the prime minister, said that “information came to light during the process of preparing evidence for submission to the COVID inquiry.”

“In line with obligations in the Civil Service Code, this material has been passed to the relevant authorities and it is now a matter for them.”

Johnson’s office said the former leader maintained that “the events were lawful and were not breaches of any COVID regulations.”

Johnson was among scores of people fined last year in connection with the “partygate” scandal over lockdown-breaching government parties held in 2020 and 2021, when the U.K. was under tight restrictions on social mixing.

He resigned as prime minister in July 2022 after a slew of scandals over his ethics and judgment turned many lawmakers from the governing Conservative Party against him.

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