Minister Insists PM Has Done "Everything" To Answer Unanswered Flat Refurb Questions As Saga Rolls On
Boris Johnson faces more questions over who initially paid for the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat, but minister Nadhim Zahawi this morning claimed the Prime Minister had "done everything" to clear up the lingering uncertainty.
"Ultimately, the prime minister has done everything in his power to answer these questions," Zahawi, the minister for vaccine deployment, told Sky News on Thursday morning.
He repeated the claim made by several ministers this week that Johnson had followed the rules when refurbishing the flat and had covered the cost of the work himself.
Zahawi tried to shift the focus onto Labour leader Keir Starmer, accusing him of being "the ultimate bandwaggoner" by focusing on the allegations facing the Prime Minister rather than putting forward policies for next week's local elections.
However, Johnson failed again on Wednesday to say who initially paid for the refurbishment, doubling down on his point that he has now covered the cost of the work.
Pressed by Starmer during PMQs on who met the costs in the first place, the Prime Minister dodged that specific question, saying: "I have paid for [the] Downing Street refurbishment personally".Starmer told Johnson, who was visibly angry during the House of Commons exchange, it was 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".
Those questions remain unanswered.
The Electoral Commission heaped more pressure on the Prime Minister yesterday morning by announcing 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".
Johnson yesterday told MPs he would make necessary declarations to Lord Geidt, who was appointed the new independent adviser on ministerial interests yesterday morning.