BORIS Johnson may be looking to undermine Westminster’s current standards process in a bid to save himself from further investigations into his conduct, it has been alleged.

Although he is not currently under investigation, the Prime Minister has already faced three probes into his conduct in as many years, more than any other MP.

He potentially faces a fourth investigation - this time into whether he broke the rules while looking to fund his Downing Street flat refurbishment.

With a decision on whether to investigate this alleged infraction due in just a few weeks, Johnson’s issuing of a three-line whip to his Tory MPs in order to change the standards system has come under scrutiny.

READ MORE: Owen Paterson resigns amid 'indescribable nightmare' after Boris Johnson U-turn

The UK Government won the vote in the Commons by 250 votes to 232, but U-turned on the victory just hours later after widespread outrage. Opposition parties refused to take part in a “corrupt” Tory-led committee tasked with reviewing the standards process.

The vote was largely seen as having been brought in to protect Tory MP Owen Paterson, who has now stepped down after having been found to have repeatedly lobbied for two companies paying him more than £100,000 per year by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone OBE.

Former attorney general for England and Wales Dominic Grieve told the BBC that it “cannot escape notice that the PM is currently the subject of an investigation for failure to declare his interest by that same Commissioner”.

The National: Dominic Cummings

Johnson’s former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings (above), also claimed on Twitter that the vote to defend Paterson had actually been a “preemptive strike”.

Cummings alleged that Tory MPs are “just expendable cannon fodder” to the Prime Minister, who is “trying to keep secret the coverup earlier this year on his illegal donations and lies”.

Asked if there was any truth to these allegations, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson responded with a flat “no”.

Who is currently under investigation by the standards watchdog?

There are currently eight MPs under investigation by Stone’s Parliamentary Commission. Five of these are Tories, and three of those – Daniel Kawczynski, James Cleverly (below) and David Warburton – voted in favour of the motion to shake up the current system.

Kawczynski’s case refers to paragraph 17 of the Code of Conduct, which was introduced in 2018. This relates to “actions causing significant damage to the reputation of the House as a whole, or of its members generally”.

The commissioner’s website does not provide any further detail on the conduct under investigation.

Kawczynski apologised “unreservedly” in the Commons for acting in a “threatening and intimidating” manner to parliamentary staff when he was unable to join a committee hearing in April 2020 due to technical issues.

The National: James Cleverly

Foreign Office minister Cleverly’s case falls under paragraph 14 of the code of conduct and relates to a registration of interest concerning gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources.

The investigation into Warburton, who is the chairman of the All-Parliamentary Group on Music, also comes under paragraph 14.

Paragraph 14 states: “Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

“They shall always be open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, and in any communications with ministers, members, public officials or public office holders.”

There is no voting record for the remaining two Conservative MPs who are the subject of a conduct investigation, which means they either abstained or were granted permission to miss the vote.

The National: Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey arrives in Downing Street for a cabinet meeting ahead of the Budget. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 11, 2020. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey (above) and backbencher Ian Liddell-Grainger are being investigated under paragraph 14.

In July, Labour claimed Liddell-Grainger breached standards by not registering a trip to China in 2018, which was said to have been paid for by the country’s state-owned energy company China General Nuclear.

The remaining MPs under investigation are all from Labour and their cases also relate to paragraph 14.

The case of shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens refers to the registration of donations and other support for activities as an MP and gifts, benefits and hospitality.

Chi Onwurah, shadow minister for science, research and digital, is being investigated in relation to registering an interest, as is former shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner.