Conservatives get a slap on the wrist over £67,8000 renovation of Johnson’s Downing Street flat

Conservatives get a slap on the wrist over £67,8000 renovation of Johnson’s Downing Street flat


Boris Johnson was at the centre of another sleaze row today as the Conservatives were fined for failing to reveal a five-figure cash donation from a businessman that was used to refurbish the Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat.    

The Electoral Commission fined has fined the Tories £17,800 for failing to properly declare money received from Lord Brownlow for the refurbishment of the private quarters used by Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and their son Wilfred.

The cash came from Huntwood Associates, a firm run by Tory donor  Lord Brownlow, but was not declared as a donation to the party or in the PM’s personally declaration of interests.

The Electoral Commission found that the Conservative Party failed to ‘fully report’ a donation of £67,801.72, the majority of which was connected to the refurbishment of the 11 Downing Street flat where Boris Johnson lives.

The result of its investigation is also likely to lead to a new probe by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone. 

The commission’s investigation found that decisions relating to the handling and recording of the donation reflected ‘serious failings in the party’s compliance systems’.

A fine of £17,800 was levied for ‘failing to accurately report a donation and keep a proper accounting record’.

Louise Edwards, director of regulation at the Electoral Commission, said: ‘The party’s decisions and actions reflected serious failings in its compliance systems.

‘As a large and well-resourced political party that employs compliance and finance experts, and that has substantial sums of money going through its accounts, the Conservative Party should have sufficiently robust systems in place to meet its legal reporting requirements.’

The Electoral Commission fined the Conservatives £17,800 for failing to properly declare almost £68,000 mostly used to pay for the refurbishment of the private quarters used by Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and their son Wilfred.

The Electoral Commission fined the Conservatives £17,800 for failing to properly declare almost £68,000 mostly used to pay for the refurbishment of the private quarters used by Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and their son Wilfred.

The commission's investigation found that decisions relating to the handling and recording of the donation reflected 'serious failings in the party's compliance systems'.

The commission’s investigation found that decisions relating to the handling and recording of the donation reflected ‘serious failings in the party’s compliance systems’.

The Daily Mail revealed details of the lavish redecoration of the apartment shared by the PM and his then fiancée in March.

The revamp at No11 by upmarket designer Lulu Lytle is said to have included gold wall coverings. 

But the funding of the work did not appear in the list of political donations published by the Commission or in Mr Johnson’s Commons register of interests. 

It prompted demands from the Labour Party for a full investigation into how the extravagant work was paid for and whether rules were broken. 

The Electoral Commission said that Huntswood Associates transferred £67,801.72 to the Conservative Party on October 19, 2020.

Some £15,000 of that amount was for an event, but the commission said he ‘specifically identified the remaining £52,801.72 as a donation to cover an earlier payment of that value made by the party to the Cabinet Office’.

The Cabinet Office had paid three invoices over summer 2020, totalling the same amount, for the refurbishment of the Prime Minister’s flat at 11 Downing Street, and these were made on the agreement that the sum would be repaid by the party.

But the commission said that in donation records submitted on January 27, 2021, while the party reported the £15,000 from Huntswood Associates, it failed to report the £52,801.72.

The commission also concluded that the reference in the party’s financial records to the payment of £52,801.72 made by the party for the refurbishment was not accurate as it was referred to as a ‘blind trust loan’.

However a trust to refurbish the flat had not been created.

The Tories are considering whether to appeal against the Electoral Commission fine over the donation linked to Boris Johnson’s flat refurbishment.

A party spokesman said: ‘The Conservative Party has received notification from the Electoral Commission that, in their judgment, the manner in which a payment was reported represented a technical breach of reporting requirements under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act.

‘We have been in constant contact with the Electoral Commission with regards to this matter and have sought their advice as to how the transaction should be reported since it was made.

‘We are considering whether to appeal this decision and will make a decision within 28 working days.’



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