Boris Johnson personally assured Sir James Dyson that the billionaire inventor’s employees would not have to pay extra tax if they came to the UK to make ventilators during the pandemic, it has been reported, in the latest case to raise concerns about lobbying.
Dyson, an outspoken Brexiter who moved his firm to Singapore, initially wrote to the Treasury but after not receiving a reply exchanged text messages with the prime minister in which Johnson pledged:
“I will fix it tomo! We need you. It looks fantastic.”
The prime minister then texted him again, saying, according to the BBC.:
“[Chancellor] Rishi [Sunak] says it is fixed!! We need you here.”
When Dyson then sought a further assurance, Johnson replied:
“James, I am first lord of the Treasury and you can take it that we are backing you to do what you need.”
There is growing concern at Westminster over lobbying following the disclosures of David Cameron’s lobbying activities on behalf of the failed finance firm, Greensill Capital.
A Labour party spokesman said: “These are jaw-dropping revelations. Boris Johnson is now front and centre of the biggest lobbying scandal in a generation, and Tory sleaze has reached the heart of Downing Street … Boris Johnson must now agree to a full, transparent and independent inquiry into lobbying – and end the scandal of Conservative politicians abusing taxpayer money.”