Boris Johnson is a “risk to the country”, Labor has said after he admitted meeting a former KGB agent without officials present.

The controversy sparked opposition demands for the prime minister to resign immediately resignation as Tory leader and not remain in Downing Street until his replacement is chosen.

An investigation was subsequently ordered Mr. Johnson told MPs he “definitely” met Russian oligarch and former Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev in Italy unescorted when he was foreign minister.

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Former owner of the Evening Standard, Alexander Lebedev. Photo: AP

Responding to an urgent question in the House of Commons this week, Foreign Secretary Vicky Ford said that after meeting Lebedev in 2018, Johnson had informed officials “as required”.

But she clarified her comments moments later, saying the prime minister “thinks” he mentioned the meeting to civil servants.

Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner said at the time that it “seemed to contradict” Mr Johnson’s statements to the House of Commons communications committee on Wednesday about officials being briefed on the meeting.

Speaking to Sky News, Ms Rayner said: “This week the Prime Minister admitted that he met a former KGB spy secretly without any of his officials present.

“Now this is a national security risk and people want answers.

“He was the foreign minister and he shouldn’t do it, he knows he shouldn’t do it and yet he did it.

“He just completely broke the rules and that’s why he can’t continue because he’s a risk to the country.

“If he’s lying to the British public, if he’s not doing the right thing and not following the rules, even his own rules that he’s put in place, then that’s unacceptable.”

Lord Lebedev Photo:
There was controversy surrounding the appointment of Lord Lebedev. Photo:

Meanwhile, Johnson’s former top adviser Dominic Cummings also claimed the prime minister met Lebedev at the start of the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020 without officials present.

This happened amid an investigation by the Intelligence and Security Committee of the House of Commons into the appointment in 2020 to the House of Lords of Lebedev’s son, Evgeny Lebedevowner of the London Evening Standard and shareholder in The Independent.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly denied that he interfered with Lord Lebedev being offered a peerage, despite being warned by British intelligence that the move could pose a security threat.

Peer, whose full title is Baron Lebedev of Hampton and Siberia, said yes “nothing to hide” and supported the publication advice associated with his appointment.

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