UK parliament standards watchdog investigating PM Johnson's foreign travel
LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under investigation by parliament's independent standards watchdog over a foreign trip and how it was declared to parliamentary authorities.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards named Johnson in a newly-published list of ongoing investigations, saying it was looking at whether he had broken the code of conduct for members of parliament.
The inquiry increases scrutiny of Johnson's finances - with the electoral authorities looking at how the refurbishment of his apartment was funded. nL1N2MP04J
Monday's release said Johnson was being investigated under the section of the rules relating to travel outside Britain, and referred to a section which said lawmakers must be open and frank in disclosing relevant interests.
The rule book states lawmakers must register all visits outside Britain if they have not been paid for personally or by the state.
The release did not specify the exact nature of the investigation, nor which trip was being investigated. Johnson's office did not immediately comment.
Johnson declared to parliament in February 2020 that he had travelled to the Caribbean for a holiday with his partner, Carrie Symonds, from Dec. 26 2019 to Jan. 5 2020. The list showed 15,000 pounds worth of accommodation was provided by David Ross, co-founder of the Carphone Warehouse retail chain.
The opposition Labour Party said Johnson needed to explain this arrangement further.
If found in breach of the rules, Johnson could be forced to apologise, or, if the commissioner determines the breach is serious enough, it could be referred to a committee that has powers to recommend further sanctions which range from temporary suspension from parliament to expulsion.
Cases of expulsion are extremely rare.
(Reporting by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper)