Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared a gift of a second-hand bike given to him by the President of Kurdistan – although it is unclear when it was given to him, and whether it would have been subject to rules regarding the receiving of gifts under the Ministerial Code.
The Conservative MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip resigned as Prime Minister in July after losing the support of Cabinet colleagues, eventually leaving office in September after Liz Truss replaced him as party leader.
He disclosed the gift of what was described as a “second-hand, limited-edition bike, estimated value £4,000” in his latest notification to the Register of Members’ Interests, under which Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords are required to disclose extra-parliamentary earnings, donations and gifts.
Guardian media editor Jim Waterson tweeted a screenshot of the relevant section of the entry, related to “Gifts and benefits from sources outside the UK,” which stated that the bicycle had been received on 28 October 2022 from Mr Nechrirvan Idris Barzani, President of Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq.
Boris Johnson's register of MP's interests is so chaotic. Last month it was "£275k for a speech" and "Rupert Murdoch flew me to Montana". This week it's "The JCB man is paying my family's rent and the Kurdistan President gave me a second-hand bicycle." pic.twitter.com/SBkQGXanX7
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) November 30, 2022
The Mirror reports that Johnson met with Barzani in April, but the bicycle was not received until October, by which time the Tory politician had returned to the back benches.
That’s an important point, given that when he was in office, he would only have been allowed to personally receive a gift valued at up to £140, unless he paid the difference, otherwise it remains the property of the government.
It’s not the first time that Johnson has been given a gift of a bicycle. In June last year, when the United Kingdom hosted the G7 Summit, he was given a custom-made bike with a paintjob based on the Union Flag and Stars and Stripes by US President Joe Biden.
This neatly sums up everything that's wrong with UK and US cycle culture.
Totally impractical and uncomfortable. For recreation, not transport. https://t.co/B0X0fdolAE
— Hart's Cyclery (@harts_cyclery) June 11, 2021
The bike was made by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Bilenky Cycle Works, which subsequently revealed that Johnson, who was born in New York City, had ordered a tricycle in a similar colour scheme for his son, Wilfred.
But as far as the bike given to him by President Biden is concerned, it was later reported that the former Prime Minister declined to pay the sum in excess of £140 that would have made it his personal property – although he continued to ride it.
While Mayor of London, Johnson was also reportedly given a bike by former Olympic and world champion turned active travel campaigner Chris Boardman.
The bike, from Boardman’s own brand was subsequently stolen, although doubts were cast on Johnson’s version of events.
For the time being, the make and model of the used bike donated by the President of Kurdistan to Johnson remains unknown – although given the declared value, it’s safe to say that it wouldn’t have been a Raleigh Grifter.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.