“I paid for Downing Street refurbishments personally”

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister’s Questions

April 28, 2021

Facts

When asked about the Downing Street refurbishments by Keir Starmer, Johnson told the

House of Commons at PMQs that he “paid for Downing Street refurbishments personally”.

The refurbishments were initially paid for by Lord Brownlow, who paid the Tory party nearly £60,000 towards the cost of the makeover. The peer confirmed he had made the payment in an email to the Conservative co-chairman Ben Elliot and the head of fundraising, Mike Chattey, sent in October 2020. Eventually, Boris Johnson paid the bill. 

On December 9th 2021 The Electoral Commission concluded the Conservative Party had not properly declared a donation made in connection with the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat. The Electoral Commission stated: “Our investigation looked at whether any transactions relating to works at 11 Downing Street fell within the party finance regime regulated by the Commission and whether any such transactions were recorded and reported as required.

“The evidence showed that the Conservative Party received a donation of £67,801.72 from Huntswood Associates Limited in October 2020 – £52,801.72 of which was to cover the cost of three invoices relating to the refurbishment of Downing Street. £15,000 was reported as a donation in the party’s Q4 2020 donation report; the remaining £52,801.72 was not.

“Our investigation concluded that the full amount of the £67,801.72 was a donation and should have been reported to the Commission. We also concluded that the reference to the payment made by the party for the refurbishment in the party’s financial records was not accurately recorded.”

Verdict

Johnson’s claim was true but his statement did not give anything like the whole picture.  The refurbishment was initially paid for by a Tory donor.

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