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"You might have thought it one of the scoops of the year – the allegation that when he was foreign secretary, Boris Johnson wanted to install his then-lover Carrie Symonds as his chief of staff on a salary of at least £100,000 a year, before senior colleagues made it clear that such a “flagrant abuse of ethics” would have been unacceptable."

(The New European.)

Does the VP "would have been" mean an unfulfilled future state in the past in the paragraph above?

Comments  
anonymousDoes the VP "would have been" mean an unfulfilled future state in the past in the paragraph above?

It is a mistake. His colleagues told him that it would be unaceptable when he was considering it and before he did it. If they had told him it would have been unaceptable, they would have been telling him that after he had failed to do it.

anonymousIt is a mistake.

Do you mean that it is a grammatical mistake?

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anonymousDo you mean that it is a grammatical mistake?

Yes. He didn't pay enough attention to the sense.