© Reuters. Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives at Downing Street, in London


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Saturday called for an independent commission on ethics and standards in government after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former top adviser criticised the UK leader’s integrity.

On Friday Dominic Cummings, who left Johnson’s staff suddenly late last year having previously been his most influential adviser over Brexit and the 2019 election campaign, denied reports he leaked Johnson’s private communications over the sourcing of COVID-19 ventilators.

Cummings also said he was not responsible for leaks over the cost of refurbishing Johnson’s residence and that the prime minister and his office had fallen below acceptable standards of competence and integrity.

Johnson’s office in response on Friday said the government had followed the rules over the refurbishment. The prime minister had never interfered in a government leak inquiry, his office added.

“We need some kind of independent commission into ethics and standards in government, we can’t let the prime minister mark his own homework on this,” Steve Reed, Labour’s spokesman on communities and local government, told BBC radio.

“This was the closest ally the prime minister’s got and he’s telling us the prime minister’s behaviour was unethical, foolish and possibly illegal,” he said.

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