Boris Johnson faced fresh scrutiny over his finances at the weekend then made a surprise visit to war-torn Ukraine.
The timing of the former prime minister’s visit raised eyebrows on social media, given that Johnson was officially removed from office in September.
He said he was traveling at the invitation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, although his visit came just after the sunday times revealed an alleged affair between Johnson and the current BBC chairman.
The former PM reportedly recommended Richard Sharpe for the BBC’s top job weeks after Sharpe helped him secure a loan of up to £800,000 while Johnson was still at No. 10.
Labor is now demanding a parliamentary inquiry. Sharp has denied that he arranged a guarantor for Johnson, claiming that they were “just connected”, that there was no conflict of interest.
Johnson’s spokesman has since said that the report was “nonsense”, that the former PM had not received financial advice from Sharpe and that all his financial arrangements have been “properly declared”.
Nevertheless, Johnson’s random trip to Ukraine came under some scrutiny on Twitter, with one user declaring it “tragic”.
Johnson had returned to the UK by Monday morning, but his efforts to downplay the reports were also immediately criticized.
He told Sky News that it was “a load of rubbish”, that Sharpe “knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances, I can tell you that’s 100% ding dang sure”.
He added: “This is another example of the BBC missing its core principle.”
However, reporters on Twitter were quick to point out that Sharpe himself told BBC staff in a statement that he had introduced Canadian businessman Sam Blyth to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.
Sharp said: “I was not involved in taking out loans, or arranging guarantees, and I did not arrange any financing. What I did was to introduce Sam Blyth to the relevant official in government.”
Sharp has also called for a review of his own hiring process as chairman of the BBC.
It is also worth noting that it was the sunday times who broke the story, not the BBC as Johnson suggested.
It wasn’t just Johnson who was facing backlash over the claims.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverley was mocked for refusing to explain whether he knew anything about the scandal. He just told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuensberg that he “spent the whole of last week in the United States and Canada”, before going to his constituency surgery, “getting some rest and doing some shopping”.
Twitter users called the game show ‘Will I Lied to You?’ compared their response to
Johnson’s sister Rachel Johnson was also invited onto Laura Kuensberg’s show on Sunday, and answered questions about her own brother’s finances.
She said: “All parties involved have given statements to The Sunday Times which suggest they did everything above board and everything was transparent.
“I suggest you ask Simon Case, who seems to be the linchpin in both of these stories, to come and say what happened.”
His mere presence raised questions on Twitter.
(translate to tag) boris johnson