Boris Johnson has been referred to the police by the Cabinet Office over allegations he hosted friends and family at Chequers during lockdown. 

The visits to the grace-and-favour residence were discovered in the former prime minister's official diary by his own government-funded lawyers.

Even though they were preparing his defence for the public inquiry into the government's handling of the pandemic, they had an obligation to alert senior officials in the Cabinet Office, who then referred the matter to police as they were obliged to do under the civil service code.

They have also been referred to the Commons privileges committee, which is investigating whether or not Mr Johnson lied to MPs over Partygate.

The Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police both said they were “currently assessing” information they had received about potential breaches of health regulations between June 2020 and May 2021.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson has said the events were lawful and denied wrongdoing.

“Some abbreviated entries in Mr Johnson’s official diary were queried by Cabinet Office during preparation for the Covid inquiry.

“Following an examination of the entries, Mr Johnson’s lawyers wrote to the Cabinet Office and Privileges Committee explaining that the events were lawful and were not breaches of any Covid regulations.”

It was also suggested the move was “politically motivated” and Mr Johnson had been given no notice of the report.

The Cabinet Office said: “Information came to light during the process of preparing evidence for submission to the Covid inquiry.

“It was identified as part of the normal disclosure review of potentially relevant documents being undertaken by the legal team for inquiry witnesses.

“In line with obligations in the Civil Service Code, this material has been passed to the relevant authorities and it is now a matter for them.”

The Metropolitan Police said: “We are in receipt of information from the Cabinet Office passed to us on May 19 2023, which we are currently assessing. It relates to potential breaches of the health protection regulations between June 2020 and May 2021 at Downing Street.”

Thames Valley Police said: “On Thursday we received a report of potential breaches of the health protection regulations between June 2020 and May 2021 at Chequers, Buckinghamshire. We are currently assessing this information.”

The Liberal Democrats called on Mr Johnson to “consider his position as an MP” following the report.

“It’s outrageous that rumours of alleged rule-breaking by Boris Johnson are still being drip-fed to the public,” deputy leader Daisy Cooper said.

“The fact that it’s one rule for them and one rule for the rest of us still triggers a raw sense of injustice in millions of people.

“Sunak must make sure that not a single penny more of taxpayer money is spent on Johnson’s legal fund; and Johnson should finally do one decent thing and consider his position as an MP.”

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has accused Mr Sunak of being “too weak” to end Boris Johnson’s taxpayer-funded legal support.

She said: “These new allegations are for the police to examine but the Government must explain who else knew at the time and why this has only now come to light.

“The public will be shocked that they’re still paying Boris Johnson’s legal bills while he rakes in millions from speaking gigs, all because Rishi Sunak is too weak to put a stop to it.

“The Conservatives are now so preoccupied by their own scandals and haunted by their own failure that they are unable to tackle the problems facing the country. Only a Labour government can turn the page on 13 years of Tory sleaze.”

Mr Johnson was previously handed a fixed-penalty notice, along with Rishi Sunak, over a June 2020 Downing Street gathering for the then-prime minister’s 56th birthday.

The UK Government’s bill for Mr Johnson’s legal fees in the partygate inquiry into whether he lied to MPs, carried out by the House of Commons privileges committee, is an estimated £222,000.