Ministers desperately tried to shore up Boris Johnson right now as opposition MPs branded him a ‘serial liar’ over the £88,000 Downing Avenue flat refurb and ‘our bodies piling up’ remark.
Scrutiny over the overhaul of the flat above No11 the place Mr Johnson and fiancee Carrie Symonds and son Wilf stay has refused to abate regardless of the federal government’s efforts to attract a line below the problem.
Downing Avenue has declined to disclaim that Tory funds have been used to cowl £58,000 of the prices – on prime of the £30,000 annual allowance given by the taxpayer.
However the present final July has not been declared wherever as but, and Mr Johnson now insists he has paid the sum himself – with hypothesis he took out a mortgage.
And No10 has come below fireplace for saying Conservative funds will not be at present getting used for a refurbishment, with out addressing the problem of whether or not they have been up to now.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tried to gloss over the row in a spherical of interviews this morning, claiming it’s a ‘story of the previous’ and declarations can be made.
Amid the recent revelations because the disaster threatens to snowball for the PM right now:
- Mr Johnson’s new chief of workers is alleged to have warned it was ‘loopy’ to ask rich Tory donors to fund a lavish renovation of the Prime Minister’s flat
- Downing Avenue apparently approached Labour former chancellor Alistair Darling to see if he would sit on a belief to supervise the refurbishment, however he stated no
- Insiders concern Dominic Cummings could publish WhatsApp messages which are on the coronary heart of the federal government’s who-said-what row over
- Mr Johnson remains to be below investigation over his declaration of a luxurious vacation to Mustique after his large election victory in December 2019.
Scrutiny over the overhaul of the flat above No11 the place Boris Johnson and fiancee Carrie Symonds and son Wilf stay has refused to abate regardless of the federal government’s efforts to attract a line below the problem
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tried to gloss over the No11 flat row in a spherical of interviews this morning, claiming it’s a ‘story of the previous’ and declarations can be made
In actual fact, the upmarket inside eco designer Lulu Lytle (designs pictured) – whose Soane Britain firm was commissioned by Miss Symonds – sells ‘Yellow Gold’ and ‘Previous Gold’ wallpaper
However shadow international secretary Lisa Nandy instructed Sky Information that ‘someone is mendacity right here’.
Sleaze probe into PM’s Mustique vacation nonetheless occurring
A sleaze inquiry into Boris Johnson’s journey to Mustique remains to be ongoing some 16 months after the Prime Minister’s lavish Caribbean vacation.
Downing Avenue yesterday stated Mr Johnson had made all related declarations after the ten-day luxurious villa break, which was value £15,000.
However senior Tories are braced for recent criticism of Mr Johnson over how his and Carrie Symonds’ journey was funded.
The PM recorded the vacation within the register of MPs’ pursuits final 12 months, stating the break got here courtesy of Carphone Warehouse founder David Ross, who owns a vacation villa on the island.
A spokesman for Mr Ross, a long-time Tory donor, initially instructed the Mail that the tycoon had not paid for the journey, describing the declare as a ‘mistake’. They later backtracked, saying Mr Ross had ‘facilitated’ the vacation in December 2019.
‘We’re targeted on the pandemic however we additionally need to know that we’ve got a Prime Minister on this nation who places the pursuits of the folks on this nation first,’ she stated.
‘The issue with what has gone on over the flat is we nonetheless do not know who loaned the Prime Minister this cash, he will not even verify or deny whether or not it was loaned or not, we do not know why he did not declare it and we do not know what he provided them in return.
‘The rationale these guidelines are there may be so we all know who highly effective figures are beholden to, who they might owe favours to so we will correctly scrutinise and test that they don’t seem to be performing within the pursuits of a privileged few over and above nearly all of folks on this nation.’
Inexperienced MP Caroline Lucas accused the PM of ‘mendacity on an industrial scale’.
‘Sadly I say he’s a serial liar. It is a man who is not simply mendacity often, he’s routinely mendacity on the dispatch field and that makes it inconceivable for MPs to carry him to account,’ she instructed BBC Radio 4’s Right now programme.
A No10 spokeswoman stated renovation prices of Mr Johnson’s residing quarters, past these offered for by the £30,000 annual allowance, had been ‘met by the Prime Minister personally’, including: ‘Conservative Get together funds will not be getting used for this.’
The Conservative Get together chief has confronted a flurry of questions concerning how the revamp was paid for following a fallout with former aide Dominic Cummings.
The previous No10 chief, who stop his submit final 12 months, stated Mr Johnson wished donors to ‘secretly pay’ for the work in an ‘unethical, silly, presumably unlawful’ transfer.
Cupboard Secretary Simon Case, head of the Civil Service, has been tasked with reviewing the refurbishment of the flat in No11, whereas the Electoral Fee can also be wanting into the affair.
Mr Johnson can also be more likely to face a reckoning over whether or not the association ought to have been declared on the Commons register of pursuits.
He has beforehand been compelled to apologise to the Home for failing to abide by transparency guidelines – with a warning two years in the past that he’ll face ‘severe sanction’ if he strays once more. That might doubtlessly imply suspension, though it might should be authorised by all MPs.
The recent claims in regards to the flat come as Downing Avenue appeared to sidestep allegations Mr Johnson instructed aides he would somewhat let coronavirus ‘rip’ than impose a lockdown final 12 months.
His official spokesman stated as an alternative that the Prime Minister’s actions have been being distorted in phrases that didn’t quantity to a denial, in contrast to No 10’s sturdy rejection of the suggestion Mr Johnson stated in October he would somewhat see ‘our bodies pile excessive’ than announce a 3rd lockdown.
Mr Shapps stated the Prime Minister had ‘paid 100 per cent for the refurbishments’, in search of to painting the furore as an historic curiosity.
The minister stated Cupboard Secretary Simon Case will reply whether or not Mr Johnson was given an preliminary mortgage to cowl the prices of refurbishments.
Mr Shapps instructed Instances Radio: ‘I am going to provide you with a totally straight reply, the Cupboard Secretary is definitely conducting a assessment to take a look at the recommendation and the order during which every part occurred with the upkeep of Downing Avenue.
‘I simply haven’t got the reply however the Cupboard Secretary will and will probably be transparently produced within the annual report and the accounts of the Cupboard Workplace.’
Mr Johnson has additionally been below fireplace over claims he stated he would somewhat ‘let the our bodies pile excessive’ than set off one other lockdown final Autumn.
The premier has flatly denied making the comment, however the Mail, BBC and ITV have been instructed by a number of sources that he did.
In the meantime, Sir James Dyson mounted a defence of his contact with Mr Johnson through the coronavirus pandemic after a textual content message he despatched was made public by the BBC final week.
The British entrepreneur stated it was a ‘grotesque mischaracterisation’ by the BBC to counsel he was a Tory backer, following his resolution to message the Prime Minister about tax and different points whereas designing additional ventilators on the top of the Covid-19 outbreak in spring 2020.
‘The BBC’s characterisation of me as a outstanding Conservative donor, or supporter, leveraging a place of energy to extract favours from the Prime Minister, is totally unfaithful,’ he wrote in The Every day Telegraph.
‘I’ve met Boris Johnson solely thrice – all the time with officers – the final time in 2016. I’ve not attended any Conservative social occasions.’
On a BBC corrections and clarifications internet web page, the publicly-funded broadcaster responded to Sir James’ objections to the best way he had been described.
‘In our protection of texts he had despatched to the Prime Minister we referred in numerous shops to Sir James Dyson as a outstanding Conservative supporter or stated he backed the Conservatives,’ the web site entry on Monday stated.
‘Sir James says that is factually incorrect. We’re comfortable to set the file straight.’
‘She’s shopping for gold wallpaper. It is costing tens and tens of 1000’s… I can’t afford it’: Boris Johnson’s despairing cry to Downing St aides about lavish new No 10 decor – as revealed in definitive account of THAT scandal
BY SIMON WALTERS FOR THE DAILY MAIL
Like most of the most explosive political bombshells, the Downing Street flat scandal had a protracted fuse.
It was fourteen months in the past – again in February 2020 – that officers first turned alarmed by renovations to the No 11 flat.
That they had good motive to not pay an excessive amount of consideration to decorators who had been at work there for the reason that New 12 months. A dozen or so instances of Covid had been reported in Britain, and the chance that it might endanger the UK was beginning to be taken critically by some Downing Avenue officers.
It was fourteen months in the past – again in February 2020 – that officers first turned alarmed by renovations to the No 11 flat. Pictured: Lulu Lytle’s assortment
Mr Johnson was nonetheless on a excessive from his election triumph in December 2019 and had had a Christmas vacation in Mustique within the Caribbean with accomplice Carrie Symonds – they have been nonetheless to turn out to be engaged.
The couple have been overjoyed to be taught she was pregnant, although that they had not but shared the information with the remainder of the world.
As is now well-known, at this stage life-long libertarian Mr Johnson was amongst those that have been much less alarmed in regards to the threat of a pandemic.
However he was all of a sudden alarmed by indicators of a political drawback nearer to dwelling.
That they had good motive to not pay an excessive amount of consideration to decorators who had been at work there for the reason that New 12 months. Pictured: Lulu Lytle’s assortment
‘The fee is completely uncontrolled – she’s shopping for gold wallpaper!’ he’s stated to have raged to aides.
It’s not clear if this was basic Johnson hyperbole – or whether or not the wallpaper actually is gold. In actual fact, the upmarket inside eco designer Lulu Lytle – whose Soane Britain firm was commissioned by Miss Symonds – sells ‘Yellow Gold’ and ‘Previous Gold’ wallpaper.
When aides requested him how a lot it was costing, he stated: ‘Tens and tens of 1000’s – I can’t afford it.’
The Cupboard Workplace, which is in control of sustaining the Downing Avenue property, instructed him there was a £30,000-a-year publicly funded allowance for refurbishing the flat.
Mr Johnson must pay the remaining – £58,000.
‘The fee is completely uncontrolled – she’s shopping for gold wallpaper!’ he’s stated to have raged to aides. Pictured: Lulu Lytle’s assortment
It led to friction between Miss Symonds and Helen MacNamara, Director Common of Propriety and Ethics within the Cupboard Workplace.
Miss Symonds is alleged to have urged Mr Johnson to sack Miss MacNamara after she refused to log out more money for the flat.
Regardless of his £150,000-a-year wage as Prime Minister, he’s stated to battle to make ends meet on account of shedding an estimated £250,000 a 12 months from his journalistic profession in addition to an costly divorce with ex-wife Marina.
By March, Mr Johnson was having to take outing from disaster conferences on the pandemic to deal the problem his advisers known as ‘Wallpaper-gate’ – after the Seventies Watergate political scandal within the US that introduced down President Richard Nixon.
They began discussing who was going to pay Miss Lytle’s invoice – and the way.
Tory chairman Ben Elliot, a profitable entrepreneur and philanthropist, is extra famous for his political connections than his political achievements.
Like Mr Johnson he’s an Previous Etonian; he’s finest mates with one other Previous Etonian Lord (Zac) Goldsmith – extra of whom later – and buddies with Miss Symonds.
He’s additionally a nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall.
Not like well-known Conservative chairmen of the previous equivalent to Norman Tebbit, Mr Elliot prefers to function behind the scenes in No10 and Tory HQ.
Which is the place he started to grapple with ‘Wallpaper-gate’.
Mr Johnson’s first thought was to ask Tory donor Lord Bamford, boss of the JCB development big, to repay the £58,000.
Lord Bamford and his corporations have given greater than £10million to the Conservatives through the years – and spouse Woman Bamford’s Daylesford farm retailers delivered wholesome meals to No10 after Mr Johnson recovered from Covid.
The Bamford possibility was dropped, although it’s unclear why.
By early June, it’s believed the Cupboard Workplace had paid the whole invoice, together with the ‘extra’ £58,000.
However it needed to be paid again.
Mr Johnson’s workforce got here up with one other wheeze: a ‘blind belief’ modelled on the White Home Belief used to take care of the US President’s Workplace.
Regardless of his £150,000-a-year wage as Prime Minister, he’s stated to battle to make ends meet on account of shedding an estimated £250,000 a 12 months from his journalistic profession in addition to an costly divorce with ex-wife Marina
The official goal was to ‘protect Downing Avenue for posterity’ together with the State Rooms.
In actual fact, it appears the actual goal was to recoup the £58,000.
The benefit of the ‘blind belief’ can be that the prime minister of the day wouldn’t know who had given cash to the belief so there might be no battle of curiosity.
The proposal was quickly deserted as impractical.
Undeterred, Mr Johnson resolved to arrange a special, extra open, type of Downing Avenue belief.
One other multi-millionaire Tory donor, Lord Brownlow, was requested by Mr Johnson to arrange the brand new belief.
It emerged yesterday that former Labour Chancellor Lord (Alistair) Darling turned down a proposal in July to guide the belief.
So Lord Brownlow took on the job.
It was round this time that Tory HQ paid £58,000 to the Cupboard Workplace to clear the debt.
However after being instructed it might fall foul of Electoral Fee guidelines which say get together funds ought to be used for political campaigning, the get together seems to have panicked.A rare obvious try to disguise the cost was launched.
This newspaper has been instructed that in early October Mr Johnson additionally mentioned his monetary woes in No10 with Lord Goldsmith.
Miss Symonds’s appointment in January as head of communications for the Aspinall Basis, a wildlife charity, was a fine addition to her and Mr Johnson’s revenue. A leaked electronic mail obtained by the Every day Mail confirmed that on October 23, Lord Brownlow instructed Mr Elliot that he had made a £58,000 ‘donation’ to Tory HQ.
He made it clear it was to cowl the identical sum paid by the get together to the Cupboard Workplace.
He added the £58,000 was to be attributed to the ‘soon-to-be-formed Downing Belief’ – headed by Lord Brownlow himself. Six months later the belief is not any nearer to being established.
Cupboard Secretary Simon Case stated this week that it couldn’t be used to pay to refurbish both of the 2 Downing Avenue flats at numbers 10 and 11 – both now or sooner or later.
Taking into account that was its actual, albeit unspoken, objective all alongside, insiders say the belief will now be ‘quietly dumped.’ In the meantime, Downing Avenue now says the refurbishment prices ‘have been met by the Prime Minister personally’, however has not defined how Mr Johnson paid the £58,000.
It’s not clear the place he acquired the cash from – nor who he has paid it to.
Miss Lytle? The Cupboard Workplace? Tory HQ? Lord Brownlow? The cash path isn’t just murky, it’s dizzying. Opposition by Mr Johnson’s former chief of workers Dominic Cummings to utilizing donors to pay for the flat was one of many causes for his acrimonious exit from Downing Avenue in December.
However this newspaper has been instructed that when his successor, ex-banker Dan Rosenfield joined No10 in January, he was equally shocked.
‘He couldn’t imagine anybody had allowed such a loopy association to go forward within the first place – or that a lot time had been spent on attempting and failing to kind out the mess,’ stated a supply.
Former Cupboard Secretary Lord O’Donnell stated yesterday: ‘Prime ministers should set an instance and will abide by the principles that are there for an excellent motive. He wants to focus on points like Covid and the best way to try this is to abide by the principles.’
In his blistering assault final week Mr Cummings stated he instructed Mr Johnson early final 12 months that the funding of flat makeover was ‘unethical, silly and presumably unlawful.’
Whether or not you assume Cummings is a genius or the satan incarnate, it’s arduous to disagree that Mr Johnson is responsible on at the very least one of many three counts.