Fri, 14 June 2024

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Boris Johnson Still Refuses To Say Who Initially Funded Downing Street Flat Costs In Furious PMQs

Boris Johnson reacted furiously to attacks on how the redecoration of his Downing Street flat was paid for at PMQs (Alamy)

3 min read

Sir Keir Starmer called Boris Johnson "Major Sleaze" in a heated PMQs after he once again refused to reveal who initially funded the redecoration of the Downing Street flat.

In an angry Commons exchange the Prime Minister repeatedly claimed he had “personally” paid to refurbish the flat above Number 11, and said any declarations would be made in the correct way.

But just minutes before he arrived at the despatch box the Electoral Commission announced it was opening a formal investigation into the matter after it was concluded "there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred.”

Seizing on Johnson's comments, the Labour leader pressed him for an answer on who "initially" covered the cost of refurbishments. 

But Johnson doubled down on his assertion that he had now paid the bill. "I have paid for [the] Downing Street refurbishment personally,” he replied.

Johnson added that he would make any further declarations to Lord Geidt, who was appointed the new independent adviser on ministerial interests this morning.

Starmer pushed again for a more detailed breakdown of the timeline of the payment, offering the PM a "multiple choice” question: "Either the taxpayer paid the initial invoice, or it was the Conservative Party, or it was a private donor, or it was the Prime Minister."

Johnson once again refused to answer deflecting how much former Labour governments had spent on the Downing Street flat prior to the Conservatives taking office more than ten years ago.

Following days of scandal around the funding of the Downing Street flat, and highly contentious press briefings in which Johnson was accused of saying 'let the bodies pile high' in response to pressure of lockdowns, the Prime Minister appeared rattled, and lost his temper at the desptach box. 

The Labour leader concluded his questions by listing the ‘Nolan Principles’ which are meant to govern those in public office: "Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.”

He added: "Instead, what do we get from this Prime Minister and Conservative government?

"Dodgy contracts, jobs for their mates and cash for access - and who is at the heart of it? The Prime Minister, ‘Major Sleaze’ sitting there."

Johnson reacted furiously, defending his record in government and accusing Labour of being a party “that twists and turns with the wind and thinks of nothing except playing political games”.

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