Electoral Commission to investigate Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat renovations

1513

The Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into funding of works on Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

Boris Johnson has insisted he “covered the costs” of the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat as a formal investigation was launched into the revamp.

The Electoral Commission said today that it would look into whether any transactions related to the works on the prime minister’s flat – above 11 Downing Street – were properly reported.

The spending watchdog said there were “reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred”.

Boris Johnson has been under growing pressure to declare how refurbishments were paid for after his ex-adviser said there was a plan for donors to “secretly pay”.

Mr Johnson told MPs he covered the revamp “personally” – but would not say who paid the initial bill.

While it is not against the rules to receive donations, politicians must declare them so the public can see who has given them money and whether it has had any influence on their decisions.

The Commission – which regulates party and election finance – has the power to investigate if such funding has been declared properly and can impose fines or pass on allegations to the police if they see fit.

Earlier this week Boris Johnson asked top civil servant Simon Case to review how the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat was paid for.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case told MPs he had not been “involved directly” in the works, but would examine the issue.

Mr Johnson’s ex-adviser Dominic Cummings has claimed the PM once planned to have donors “secretly pay” for the revamp.

The PM has said any relevant donations will be declared “in due course”.

Labour called on the Electoral Commission, which regulates political donations in the UK, to launch a formal investigation.

Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer pushed the PM to explain who paid for the initial invoice for renovations – giving him “multiple choice” answers between the taxpayer, the Conservative Party, a private donor or Mr Johnson himself.

Boris Johnson vs Sir Keir Starmer: PMQs Sleaze accusations

Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of being “mired in sleaze, cronyism and scandal”.

But in the fiery exchange, Mr Johnson replied: “The answer is I have covered the costs… I conformed in full with the code of conduct and officials have kept advising me through this whole thing.

“But I think people will think it is absolutely bizarre that he is focusing on this issue when what people want to know is what plans the government might have on improving the life of people in this country.”

The Electoral Commission has been in contact with the Conservative Party since March over the works the PM carried out to No 11.

A spokesman for the watchdog said its newly launched investigation would “determine whether any transactions relating to the works at 11 Downing Street fall within the regime regulated by the Commission and whether such funding was reported as required”.

Support Labour Heartlands

Help Us Sustain Ad-Free Journalism

Sorry, I Need To Put Out the Begging Bowl

Independent Journalism Needs You

Our unwavering dedication is to provide you with unbiased news, diverse perspectives, and insightful opinions. We're on a mission to ensure that those in positions of power are held accountable for their actions, but we can't do it alone. Labour Heartlands is primarily funded by me, Paul Knaggs, and by the generous contributions of readers like you. Your donations keep us going and help us uphold the principles of independent journalism. Join us in our quest for truth, transparency, and accountability – donate today and be a part of our mission!

Like everyone else, we're facing challenges, and we need your help to stay online and continue providing crucial journalism. Every contribution, no matter how small, goes a long way in helping us thrive. By becoming one of our donors, you become a vital part of our mission to uncover the truth and uphold the values of democracy.

While we maintain our independence from political affiliations, we stand united against corruption, injustice, and the erosion of free speech, truth and democracy. We believe in the power of accurate information in a democracy, and we consider facts non-negotiable.

Your support, no matter the amount, can make a significant impact. Together, we can make a difference and continue our journey toward a more informed and just society.

Thank you for supporting Labour Heartlands

Just click the donate button below