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Nicola Sturgeon: Stench of sleaze around Tory government now overpowering

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THE “stench of sleaze” around the Tory government is becoming increasingly overpowering, according to Scotland’s First Minister.

Speaking on the campaign trail this morning Nicola Sturgeon said a full public inquiry into cronyism allegations at Westminster is now “absolutely necessary”.

It comes after Boris Johnson’s former senior adviser Dominic Cummings launched a scathing attack on the Tory leader in a blog post last night.

Yesterday Number 10 sources had accused Cummings of leaking private texts between Johnson and James Dyson, in which the PM said he would “fix” a tax issue for the billionaire Brexiteer.

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READ MORE: Boris Johnson denies ‘mad’ attempt to block lockdown leak inquiry

It was reported that Johnson himself also personally called newspaper editors and blamed Cummings for the leak.

His former ally vehemently denied the accusation on his blog and went on to accuse the Prime Minister of seeking to halt the investigation into the leak of lockdown plans last year, after being warned a friend of his fiancé could be implicated.

Cummings said he told Johnson the idea was “mad” and “totally unethical”. “It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves,” Cummings wrote.

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The former adviser also claimed the Tory leader attempted an “unethical, foolish, possibly illegal” plan to get Tory donors to fund the lavish refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.

This morning pressure is on Johnson to explain how the refurb was paid for. “If people are making significant donations to the Conservative Party, to the Government, we need to know who they are so that we can make sure the Government isn’t doing favours for them in return,” said Labour’s shadow communities secretary Steve Reed.

“That is what sleaze is all about. That is the behaviour of a tin-pot dictatorship. Britain, frankly, deserves a lot better than that.”

The row around leaks, the flat refurbishment and texts with Dyson comes as former PM David Cameron is at the centre of the UK’s biggest lobbying scandal in a decade.

Cameron pushed government and central bank officials on behalf of now-defunct Greensill Capital through texts, meetings and emails throughout the pandemic.

READ MORE: David Cameron’s attempts to lobby Bank of England for Greensill revealed

This morning Nicola Sturgeon spoke out. “I have to say the stench of sleaze that is surrounding this UK Tory government now is becoming quite overpowering,” she said while on the campaign trail.

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“We’ve had the David Cameron lobbying allegations, we’ve now got this bizarre and apparently quite toxic feud between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings. I think the danger there is everybody gets caught up in the psychodrama of that but there are some very serious allegations being levelled at Boris Johnson by somebody who was very very close to him.”

She went on: “As somebody who’s just been subject to very far reaching inquiries and scrutiny I think the same is needed and perhaps even more so in terms of what we are hearing about this Westminster government. So Ian Blackford has led calls for a full comprehensive public inquiry and I think that is absolutely necessary.”

Labour also called on the Liaison Committee to launch an urgent inquiry into Johnson’s conduct this week.

However, the appeal was rejected with chairman Bernard Jenkin saying existing inquiries are already examining these issues.

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