No plans for ministers to attend Beijing Olympics, says PM

During Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon, Boris Johnson has said that there are no current plans for UK officials to attend the upcoming Winter Olympics in China.

Former Tory minister Tim Loughton wrote to the prime minister last Wednesday, urging him to ban any official UK representation at Games, which are set to kick off on 4 February next year.

Yesterday No 10 said no decision had been made regarding a diplomatic boycott of the Games.

While Johnson’s remarks today suggests that the government will not send ministers, this simply reiterates the government line given by Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg, who said in November that “no tickets” had been “booked” for ministers to attend the Games.

Neither have confirmed an official diplomatic boycott.

A purely diplomatic boycott does not prohibit athletes from the country in question from competing in the Games.

Since Monday, the governments of New Zealand, Australia, Lithuania and Scotland have all said they intend to follow the US’ lead. However, Holyrood’s snub is mostly symbolic given that they are not in charge of foreign affairs. 

Beijing has blasted the decisions as “political posturing and manipulation”, and accused the decision of being “based on lies and rumours”.