Boris Johnson discussed Ukraine with Donald Trump during his visit to the US, in an apparent attempt to bring Ukraine’s case under suspicion of the former US president.
Johnson’s spokesman said, “Johnson met with Trump to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the critical importance of the Ukrainian victory.” They are understood to have held talks on Thursday.
The former prime minister – who faces frequent questions at home over allegations of lockdown-breaking parties at Checkers and Number 10 – has been in Dallas, where he met Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas and Las Vegas, and made the latest high profile His recent sequence of corporate speeches.
The discussions with Trump, whose location has not been disclosed, probably focused on Johnson, a loud international cheerleader for the Ukrainian cause, trying to impress upon the former president his views.
Trump, who is the favorite to win the Republican nomination and take on Joe Biden in next year’s presidential election, has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin and appears agnostic to the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
During a question-and-answer session that aired on CNN earlier this month, Trump declined to say whether he wanted Ukraine to win the war. “Russians and Ukrainians, I want them to stop dying,” he said. “And I’ll do that. I’ll do it in 24 hours.
Speaking earlier, Keir Starmer said Johnson had questions to answer about the Chequers allegations, despite the public being “fed up with the back teeth” with stories of his breaking the law.
The Labor leader said there were people who felt hurt and bullied about the continuing saga, but “there were now questions about why these allegations had not come to light earlier”.
Starmer weighed in on the controversy after the Cabinet Office passed fresh charges of police wrongdoing this week. He did so after looking at diary entries about guests visiting Checkers during the pandemic, which Johnson handed over to the lawyers who were representing him as part of the Covid investigation.
On Friday Johnson said suggestions he may have taken part in rule-breaking during the pandemic were “a load of absolute rubbish”.
Asked by Sky News at Washington’s Dulles Airport whether he had broken the law at Checkers and Downing Street, he said: “No… the answer is, as I said before, there was absolutely no rule-breaking. They should make allegations, but no one has so far.
“This whole thing is a load of absolute rubbish. I think it was absurd that it was decided to give entries in my diary to the police.
Police fined Johnson more than a year ago in connection with an event to mark his birthday in June 2020. Others were handed over 100 fines for events held in and around Downing Street.
The Partygate saga contributed to the demise of Johnson’s premiership, but he has since been contemplating whether a comeback is possible. Johnson still faces an investigation by MPs’ Privileges Committee over whether he misled the House of Commons by following all Covid rules in Downing Street.
On Friday, Starmer told broadcasters: “I think people are tired of stories about Boris Johnson. At the heart of it is the simple fact that people across the country have made huge sacrifices during Covid .
“Some people are not going to the birth of their child, not going to the funeral of a close family member. These are deeply personal things, and the growing revelations about Boris Johnson, I think, just add to that hurt feeling, and people are fed up with it.
“I think there are questions now about why these allegations didn’t come out earlier… Obviously, there will be an investigation, I understand that. The core of it is a very human sense of a rule for us that we follow, Boris Johnson and another rule at the helm of the Tory party.
Diaries showing nearly a dozen incidents between June 2020 and May 2021 at both the prime minister’s grace and favor mansion, Checkers and Number 10, were provided to lawyers appointed by Johnson’s government.
However, the Cabinet Office, which pays for lawyers, also received the diary, and officials then decided that, under the Civil Service Code, they should refer the matter to the police.
After Downing Street denied that Johnson was the victim of a politically motivated “stitch-up”, his colleagues reacted with fury to news of the latest police involvement.
Number 10 insisted that Rishi Sunak had no involvement in the decision to hand over the pandemic diaries to Johnson, saying he “had not seen the information or the material in question” and that ministers had “no involvement in the process”. and was made aware only after the police were contacted”.