Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves his home, in London
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Image/Reuters Reuters

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was forced to resign from his position last year following a series of scandals, has again come under fire for reportedly violating COVID restrictions.

Boris and Carrie Johnson apparently hosted at Chequers during the COVID restrictions. The person, identified as Dixie Maloney, a corporate events manager, stayed at the house overnight in May 2021.

According to a report in The Guardian, Maloney helped the couple plan their wedding. The incident took place when indoor gatherings were banned unless "reasonably necessary." However, Johnson's office said Maloney's visit was "entirely lawful" and "covered by relevant provisions in the Covid regulations."

Maloney's spokesman has also denied doing anything unlawful, stating that she took COVID rules "very seriously" and "would not have done anything at the relevant time unless she honestly believed that it was lawful to do so."

"Ms. Maloney has never been formally engaged to work for either Boris or Carrie Johnson, nor has she ever held any public role, whether in government or otherwise," added her spokesperson.

It was one of several gatherings that took place at Chequers and Downing Street. The police have not yet launched an investigation into the latest claims.

Johnson, a Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP, had to resign after losing the support of dozens of his ministers over the "Partygate" controversy. Several photos emerged of him drinking at a Downing Street party during the lockdown in 2020. He came under fire for breaking COVID-19 protocols and was forced to quit eventually.

He was even fined by the police for attending an event celebrating his birthday in June 2020. He is currently being investigated by a parliamentary committee to ascertain whether he misled the House of Commons about COVID rule violations.

The former prime minister maintains that he did not mislead Parliament during the pandemic. He was forced to hand over pandemic-era WhatsApp messages and notebooks to the government. The current government has also come under fire for not handing over those messages to the inquiry committee.

The inquiry is being chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett, who has demanded that the government submit the unredacted WhatsApp messages and notebooks from Boris Johnson.

The messages and notebooks contain details of the decisions taken by the government when Johnson was prime minister. Failure to comply with the request by retired judge Heather Hallett may lead to legal action against the Rishi Sunak government.

The government has only submitted incomplete versions of the documents and the text messages. It claims that it has only redacted private information not connected to the inquiry. The government has until 4 p.m. (1500 GMT) Thursday to submit the requested material. Meanwhile, Johnson has asked the authorities to deliver the requested documents to the committee.

It also needs to be noted that Johnson is being given public-funded legal support for the inquiry into his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, his former health secretary, Matt Hancock, became the centre of a massive controversy after it came to light that he allegedly failed to follow advice on COVID-19 testing.

Thousands of WhatsApp messages were leaked to the Daily Telegraph, showing that Hancock did not heed the advice given by England's Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, about testing everyone who goes into care homes in April 2020.

Instead of testing all the people going into care homes, Hancock decided to make it mandatory to test only those entering care homes from hospitals. Testing for everyone was made mandatory only in August 2020, by then the situation had already escalated.

The messages that became public revealed how the UK government handled COVID-19. He, too, was forced to resign for mishandling the pandemic.