THE ELECTION watchdog is investigating claims that £60,000 of Tory party funds were used to pay for a lavish makeover of Boris Johnson’s flat.
The Electoral Commission has contacted the Conservative Party to find out whether the sums paid for the refurbishment should have been declared under strict laws on political donations.
Boris Johnson and lives with his fiancée, Carrie Symonds, in the flat over 11 Downing StreetCredit: AFP
The election watchdog is probing whether sums paid for the refurbishment should have been declared under laws on political donationsCredit: PA
It comes after the Daily Mail reported that £60,000 of party funds were used to help cover the reported £200,000 cost of refurbishing the flat over 11 Downing Street where Johnson lives with his fiancée, Carrie Symonds.
A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: “We are in contact with the party to establish whether any sums relating to the renovation works fall within the regime regulated by the commission.
“If so, they would need to be reported according to the rules specified in law, and would then be published by the commission as part of our commitment to the transparency of political finance.”
No 10 insiders have rejected claims Johnson and Symonds are redoing their entire flat and stinging the public for the bill.
Professor David Howarth, a former electoral commissioner, told the Daily Mail: “This tangled web must be unravelled. If Boris Johnson received £60,000 to refurbish his official flat either he or his party must declare it.
“A politician cannot get a large sum directly or indirectly which no one declares. It is a nonsense.”
Tory sources said that they had regular discussions with the elections watchdogCredit: Simon Dawson / No10 Downing Street
A Government source said around £30,000 of taxpayer funds are available to all prime ministers for the upkeep of their flatCredit: AP
Tory sources said that, like all parties, they had regular discussions with the elections watchdog.
Earlier this month, the prime minister’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, insisted that Conservative Party funds were “not being used to pay for any refurbishment of the Downing Street estate”.
Asked whether the party had encouraged donors to pay for the refurbishment, Stratton said any donations would be declared through the Electoral Commission, the House of Commons’ register of members’ interests, or in ministerial transparency declarations.
A party spokesman said: “All reportable donations to the Conservative Party are correctly declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them and comply fully with the law.
“Gifts and benefits received in a ministerial capacity are, and will continue to be, declared in Government transparency returns.”
A Government source said around £30,000 of taxpayer funds are available to all prime ministers for the upkeep of their flat and “some” of that has been spent since Johnson moved into Downing Street in 2019.
It comes after it emerged that rich private donors will be asked to pay for a makeover of public parts of 10 Downing Street where Boris Johnson entertains world leaders and MPs.
The Sun understands the wider makeover of the building will be paid for private donors, with a the Cabinet Office mulling plans to set up a “trust” to protect the listed national landmark.
Downing Street said any cost of refurbishment will be published in annual accounts due in July.