BORIS Johnson has confirmed that he met ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev at a weekend-long party in an Italian castle at the height of the Salisbury poisoning scandal.

In a letter to the Commons Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister said the contact, without officials, in April 2018, when he was Foreign Secretary, was not pre-arranged.

He also said, that as far as he was aware, the two men did not discuss government business

Last month was the first time that Mr Johnson admitted to meeting the Russian oligarch while at a party hosted by his son, Evgeny, the owner of the Evening Standard. 

In his letter, Mr Johnson also said there was nothing untoward in his meeting with the ex-Russian spy without Foreign Office officials. 

The two men spoke after a Nato summit on how to respond to the Kremlin following the chemical attack on British soil. 

Last month Tortoise reported that Mr Lebedev had arranged for Mr Johnson to take a call from the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, while he was at the party.

Ultimately, that call never took place. The news website claimed Mr Johnson overslept.

In his letter, the Prime Minister told MPs: “In April 2018, I attended a social event at the house of Evgeny Lebedev in Italy.

“In the interests of transparency, I declared the overnight state and the ministerial returns, which can be found on

“At this social event, I also met Evgeny Lebedev’s father.

“This was not a formal meeting, nor something that was pre-arranged.

“Officials were aware in advance that I was attending the social event. Contrary to some reports, my visit was in line with established security protocols under successive foreign secretaries.

“It would not have been normal practice for civil servants or security staff to have accompanied me to such a private social occasion. 

“I did not take ministerial papers with me. If a minister meets an external organisation or individual and finds themselves discussing official business without an official present, for example, at a social occasion, any significant content should be passed back to the department after the event. 

“That was not necessary in this case. As far as I'm aware, no government business was discussed.”

Mr Johnson also used his letter to claim there had previously been “considerable engagement” between Labour MPs and Evgeny Lebedev.

The younger Mr Lebedev now sits in the House of Lords after being ennobled by Mr Johnson. 

His appointment is being probed by the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee, following a report in Tortoise and The Sunday Times that the peerage was allegedly granted despite a warning from security services that it posed a national security risk. Mr Johnson is said to have intervened. 

Labour's deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said Mr Johnson's letter to the committee raised more questions.

She said: "Boris Johnson has finally admitted to meeting a former KGB agent while Foreign Secretary in the wake of an attack on British soil and after a crucial NATO summit but this mealy-mouthed statement raises more questions than it answers.

"Keeping the British people safe should be a priority of government, but this web of murky relationships shows the Conservatives cannot be trusted with our national security.

"This letter suggests the Prime Minister has something to hide. He has failed to answer whether a private phone call with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov had been arranged or explain the presence of an undeclared and unidentified guest.

"As foreign secretary, Boris Johnson’s carelessness with words put people in danger. Every day he clings to office, there is new evidence of the risk to national security he poses."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said Mr Johnson could not be "trusted to tell the truth about what he had for breakfast, never mind what he said or did at a party."

He added: "It's astonishing that Douglas Ross, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak backed him for so long.

“The cosy relationship between Putin’s oligarchs and the Conservative political elite has been the dirty secret of the British establishment for far too long. It must end now.”