Boris Johnson faces formal probe over funding of Downing Avenue house renovation

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is dealing with an investigation over the financing of refurbishments to his Downing Avenue house.
  • The electoral fee says it has been involved with Johnson’s occasion since March.
  • Johnson has a taxpayer-funded allowance annually for sustaining his dwelling quarters.

Britain’s electoral fee opened a proper investigation into the financing of the refurbishment of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Avenue house, saying there have been grounds to suspect an offence might have been dedicated.

Eight days earlier than native elections throughout England, in addition to the election of the Welsh and Scottish regional assemblies, Johnson is dealing with a stream of allegations about every thing from his muddled preliminary dealing with of the Covid-19 disaster to questions on who leaked what from his workplace.

“We are actually glad that there are affordable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences might have occurred,” the electoral fee mentioned. “We’ll due to this fact proceed this work as a proper investigation to ascertain whether or not that is the case.”

The fee mentioned it had been involved with Johnson’s Conservative Social gathering over the difficulty since late March.

The investigation will decide whether or not any transactions referring to the works at 11 Downing Avenue fall inside the regime regulated by the fee and whether or not such funding was reported as required.

Requested final month concerning the refurbishment, Johnson’s spokeswoman mentioned all donations, items and advantages had been correctly declared, and that no Conservative Social gathering funds had been getting used to pay for the refurbishment.

Johnson has a taxpayer-funded 30 000 pound allowance annually for sustaining and furnishing his official residence, however something above that’s supposed to come back out of the prime minister’s personal pocket.

Ministers have mentioned Johnson has paid for the work himself, however it’s unclear when he paid, and whether or not the refurbishment, reported to have value 200 000 kilos as initially financed by a mortgage of some sort. Below political financing guidelines, Johnson would have been required to declare this.

The opposition Labour Social gathering has demanded a proof.

Labour deputy chief Angela Rayner wrote to Simon Case, the top of the civil service, asking him to research solutions concerning the affair given by Johnson’s then-press secretary earlier this yr. Allegra Stratton, a former BBC journalist, was Johnson’s press secretary from October till final week.

Dominic Cummings, who was Johnson’s key adviser on the Brexit marketing campaign and helped him to win an election in 2019 earlier than an acrimonious break up final yr, mentioned on Friday that Johnson had wished donors to pay for the renovation secretly.

Cummings mentioned he had informed the prime minister such plans had been “unethical, silly, probably unlawful”.

Requested if Johnson had obtained a mortgage from the Conservative Social gathering for the refurbishment, transport minister Grant Shapps informed Sky Information: “The prime minister has already paid for it.”

In an extra damaging allegation, the Day by day Mail newspaper on Sunday cited unidentified sources as saying that, in October, shortly after agreeing to a second lockdown, Johnson had informed a gathering in Downing Avenue: “No extra fucking lockdowns – let the our bodies pile excessive of their hundreds.”

Requested on Monday whether or not he had made the comment, Johnson informed broadcasters: “No, however once more, I believe the necessary factor, I believe, that folks need us to get on and do as a authorities is to be sure that the lockdowns work, they usually have.”

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