UK standards watchdog looking into Johnson’s Mustique stay

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s parliamentary ethics watchdog confirmed Monday that she is investigating Prime Minister Boris Johnson over a vacation in the Caribbean just before the coronavirus pandemic.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone listed Johnson as one of nine lawmakers who are under investigation for potential breaches of Parliament’s code of conduct.

The probe concerns a New Year’s break on the island of Mustique that Johnson took with his fiancée Carrie Symonds in December 2019 and January 2020.

Johnson has declared the stay as a as a “benefit in kind” from businessman David Ross, who has a villa on the island. Ross initially said he did not pay for the vacation, but later said he “facilitated” accommodation valued at 15,000 pounds ($21,000).

Johnson’s spokesman, Max Blain, said the prime minister “transparently declared the benefit in kind.”

“Clearly the rules are set out and it’s important that everyone abides by them, as the prime minister has done throughout,” he said.

Johnson is facing a separate probe into who paid for renovations to his official Downing Street residence in London. The Electoral Commission is looking into whether any funds used to pay for renovating the apartment should have been declared under the law on political donations, amid claims Johnson received a loan from his Conservative Party for the work.

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