A SLEAZE watchdog has warned Boris Johnson’s scandal-ridden government over its “careless” attitude to maintaining proper standards.

Lord Evans of Weardale, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, highlighted “partygate” – the allegations around lockdown-busting gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall – as one of the rows causing concern.

The former MI5 chief said the public expects MPs and officials to be “living up to the standards that they profess to live up to”.

The peer’s appearance in front of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee came as No 10 was mired in a row over a “socially distanced drinks” event held in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, during England’s first lockdown.

But it also follows the Greensill lobbying row involving former prime minister David Cameron, the attempts to change Commons standards rules to protect former minister Owen Paterson from immediate suspension, and the saga over the refurbishment of Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

The National: Owen Paterson resigned as a Tory MP in November Owen Paterson resigned as a Tory MP in November

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The Prime Minister was forced to apologise to his adviser on ministers’ interests, Lord Geidt, for failing to tell him about WhatsApp exchanges with a Tory donor who helped fund the revamp.

Lord Evans told MPs on the committee: “I think we have seen a whole series of issues over the last few months: the Owen Paterson affair, the attempt to change the rules over standards investigations in the middle of the investigation into Paterson’s actions.

“The questions around the redecoration of Downing Street, in particular the very bad processes that were clearly in place for keeping Lord Geidt properly informed.

“The Greensill affair and now partygate.

“All of those, I think, have demonstrated that there is – at least – a carelessness amongst people in Government over standards issues, and possibly no more than that.”

He said the rows over the Government’s conduct are cutting through to the public.

He added: “You only need, I think, to look at the media reporting, the front pages of the newspapers over the last few months, and, to some extent, of course, the polling, to suggest that people are concerned about these issues.”

He said the public believes that “those people who are representing them in Parliament, those people who are being paid to undertake public roles, should be living up to the standards that they profess to live up to”.