Conservative accounts reveal party donor paid towards PM’s flat refurbishment
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 26/08/2021
A Conservative donor paid more than £52,000 towards Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat refurbishment, the party’s accounts have revealed.
The figures show the Conservative Party’s central office provided a “bridging loan” of £52,802 to cover the renovations after being invoiced by the Cabinet Office in June last year.
They reveal the party was then “reimbursed in full” for this sum by Lord Brownlow in October, before the prime minister then “settled the costs” incurred by the Conservative peer in March.
The financing of the refurbishment to the flat in Number 11 Downing Street has been widely scrutinised, with the project vastly exceeding the £30,000 annual limit the PM is allowed to spend on his living quarters.
A Cabinet Office report published in July said almost all of this sum, more than £28,000, was spent on painting and sanding floorboards alone.
Invoices for further works – which reportedly involves the company Soane, co-founded by top interior designer Lulu Lytle – meant the total costs went over the £30,000 public funding limit.
Responding to the figures, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “These latest revelations prove that the prime minister appears to be allergic to telling the truth about the dodgy dealings and the web of conflicts of interests, secret loans and cover-ups that hang over him like a bad smell.”
The Conservative Party points to a review by the PM’s ministerial standards adviser Lord Geidt in May which found that while Mr Johnson acted “unwisely” in allowing the refurbishment to go ahead without “more rigorous regard” for how the project would be funded, he did not breach the ministerial code.
A Conservative spokesperson said: “As stated, the party provided a short-term bridging loan that was reimbursed to the party in full.”
Lord Geidt concluded that the PM had not been aware that Conservative peer Lord Brownlow had initially settled an invoice for the renovations.
His review in May did not say how much Lord Brownlow had paid.
The PM has continually insisted he has not broken any laws or rules over renovations of his Number 11 residence.
He and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, are said to have wanted an overhaul of the flat in order to replace what has been termed Theresa May’s “John Lewis furniture nightmare”.
© Sky News 2020