‘The Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer came to blows today during Prime Minister Questions (PMQs).
Sir Keir directly asked Johnson a series of questions to which he consistently sidestepped when asked questions over the funding of the Downing Stree flat where he lives with Carrie Symonds.
The Electoral Commission has started an investigation into Johnson as they are satisfied there “reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred.”
The Daily Mail alleges that the Prime Minister who earns £150,000 a year was alarmed over the escalating bill in February last year.
The newspaper reported that Johnson raged to aides, “The cost is totally out of control, she’s buying gold wallpaper!”
Sir Keir also asked Johnson over his comment back in October when he allegedly said he would rather “bodies pile high than have another f***ing lockdown.”
Sir Keir Starmer kicked off round one and said, “Mr Speaker, it was reported this week including in the Daily Mail, the BBC and ITV, backed up by numerous sources that at the end of October the Prime Minister said he would rather have, and I quote, ‘bodies pile high’ than implement another lockdown.
“Can the Prime Minister tell the House categorically, yes or no, did he make those remarks or remarks to that effect?”
Boris Johnson replied with, “No, Mr Speaker, and I think the right honourable gentleman is a lawyer I am given to understand and I think if he is going to repeat allegations like that he should come to this House and substantiate those allegations and say where he heard them and who exactly is supposed to have said those.
“Who exactly is supposed to have said those things Mr Speaker?
“Because what I certainly can tell him, he asks about the October decisions, they were very bitter, very difficult, decisions as they would be for any Prime Minister, Mr Speaker, because no one wants to put this country into lockdown with all the consequences that means for loss of education, for the damage to people’s live chances to the huge medical backlog that it entails.
“But it was thanks to that lockdown, the tough decisions that we took, thanks to the heroic efforts of the British people that we have got through to this stage in the pandemic where we find ourselves rolling out our vaccine where we have done 50% of the population, 25% of the adult population have now had two doses, Mr Speaker.
“Lockdowns are miserable. Lockdowns are appalling things to have to do. But I have to say that I believe we had absolutely no choice.”
Sir Keir Starmer said in a stern voice that “somebody isn’t telling the truth” after Downing Street insiders have come forward as sources to say what they categorically heard Johnson say.
The Labour leader also reminded Johnson that he should offer his resignation under the Ministerial Code if “he knowingly misled Parliament.”
Sir Keir said, “Well, somebody here isn’t telling the truth.
“The House will have heard the Prime Minister’s answer and I remind him the ministerial code says and I quote ‘ministers who knowingly mislead parliament will be expected to offer their resignation.’
“I will leave it there for now. Turning to another issue, there will be further on this, believe you me, who initially and Prime Minister, initially is the key word here, who initially paid for the redecoration of his Downing Street flat?”
Once again the Conservative leader dodged the question and with a question back to the Labour leader.
Johnson blurted out, “Mr Speaker, when it comes to misleading parliament you may recollect it was only a few weeks ago that he said he didn’t oppose this government, this country, leaving the European Medicines Agency (EMA), a fact that he was then forced to retract, and leaving the European medicines Agency was absolutely invaluable for our vaccine rollout.
“Actually it was just last week that he said that James Dyson was a personal friend of mine, a fact that James Dyson has corrected in the newspaper this morning.
“As for the latest stuff that he is bringing up he should know that I paid for Downing Street refurbishment personally, Mr Speaker, and any further declaration that I have to make, if any, I will be advised upon by Lord Geidt.
“But he talks about housing costs, Mr Speaker, the people of this country can make their own decision in just eight day’s time because on average Labour councils charge you £93 more in Band D than Conservative councils and Liberal Democrat councils charge you £120 more.
‘That I think is the issue upon which the British people would like him to focus.’
Sir Keir who is a lawyer told MPs in the House of Commons that people who are afraid to incriminate themselves say no comment.
Sir Keir Starmer, “Mr Speaker, normally when people don’t want to incriminate themselves they go ‘no comment.’
“Let me ask this. Let’s explore this a bit further, Prime Minister. Let’s ask it a different way.
“This is the initial invoice, Prime Minister, either the taxpayer paid the initial invoice or it was the Conservative Party or it was a private donor or it was the Prime Minister.”
In an attempt to lure Johnson to tell the truth he offered him a simple multiple choice list of question’s, to which Johnson failed to provide a simple answer.
The Labour leader continued, “So I am making it easy for the Prime Minister, it is now multiple choice. There are only four options. It should be easier than finding the ‘chatty rat,’ Mr Speaker.
“So I ask the Prime Minister again, who paid the initial invoice for the redecoration of the Prime Minister’s flat. The initial invoice.”
The Prime Minister said, “I have given him the answer and the answer is I have covered the costs and I think most people will find it absolutely bizarre, and of course there is an Electoral Commission investigating this, and I can tell him that I conformed in full with the code of conduct, with the ministerial code, and officials have been advising me throughout this whole thing.”