Great Britain

Top Scots cops U-turn on name ‘Operation Bunter’ for mission to guard Boris Johnson amid fears it would offend PM

TOP cops u-turned on the name “Operation Bunter” for a mission to guard Boris Johnson amid fears it would offend the Prime Minister.

Police Scotland assigned the codename - an echo of fictional chubby schoolboy Billy Bunter - while drawing up highly sensitive security plans for the PM’s next trip to Scotland.

An insider said: “The name ‘Operation Bunter’ was given to the preparations.

“But several people pointed out the foolishness of calling it after a fat, posh English public schoolboy - not least given the PM is known for being a bit portly.”

Sources told how Police Scotland then changed the name in a bid to avoid any chance they would “cause some sort of diplomatic incident”.

The insider said: “Operation Aeration was selected as the alternative.

“But I’m not sure moving away from Billy Bunter to a name that implies the PM is full of air is much of an improvement.”

'INAPPROPRIATE'

Fictional public schoolboy Billy Bunter, is aged around 15 in the Charles Hamilton-penned stories and later adaptations.

He attends a fictional English public school called Greyfriars, in Kent.

Mr Johnson, 57, has been Prime Minister since 2019.

He attended English public school Eton, in Berkshire.

In March, the PM told how he was “doing all I can to lose weight”, including early-morning runs, avoiding chocolate, carbs, and “late-night cheese”.

At the time, his press secretary said he’d lost around a stone after being struck down with Covid-19 last year.

Sources told how police codenames are usually selected at random from lists of approved words, but sometimes have to be dumped if not deemed appropriate.

The PM was last in Scotland in January during the second lockdown, when Nicola Sturgeon insisted his trip was “not essential”.

But the PM came anyway, and insisted he’d keep visiting Scotland to take on Ms Sturgeon over IndyRef2, saying: “Wild horses won’t keep me away.”

However, Mr Johnson raised eyebrows for not visiting during the Scottish Parliament election campaign in April and May, amid claims he would be a liability for the Scottish Tories.

Downing Street us understood to be worried about the PM’s next visit to Scotland, given flash protests by SNP and independence supporters when he’s made previous trips north.

In July 2020, nationalist activist Dave Llewellyn was one of several independence supporters who tracked Mr Johnson’s flight to Scotland “for all you activists waiting on him”.

He then referenced the 2018 Salisbury Novichok attack, saying: “Also if there are any Russians in the area. Perfume please.”

Tonight, an insider said: “These operations are highly sensitive. The aim is to keep everything under wraps until the last minute as there will be attempts to disrupt.”

No timing for the PM’s visit has been made public.

Asked about the Bunter name u-turn, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Operational names are auto-generated by computer and can be changed if deemed to be inappropriate.”

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