The Electoral Commission are to investigate the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat, as they are satisfied there “reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred.”
It has been claimed that Johnson told aides that the cost to refurbish the flat was “totally out of control” as he said that Carrie Symonds [Johnson’s fiance] is “buying gold wallpaper… I can’t afford it.”
The Daily Mail alledges that the Prime Minister who earns £150,000 a year was alarmed over the escalating bill in February last year.
The newspaper reported that Johsnon raged to aides, “The cost is totally out of control, she’s buying gold wallpaper!”
It has been alleged that Johnson said the upgrades to the Downing Street flat were costing “tens of and tens of thousands, I can’t afford it,” he reportedly told aides.
Downing Street said that cost for the refurbishment was being met by Johnson personally as the cost soared above the £30,000 annual allowance.
Number 10 added that “Conservative Party funds are not being used for this [refurbishment].”
However, the Daily Mail published details of an email from Tory peer Lord Brownlow last week, in which he said he was making a £58,000 donation to the Tory party “to cover the payments the party has already made on behalf of the soon-to-be-formed Downing Street Trust.”
Announcing its investigation, the Electoral Commission said they had “conducted an assessment” of information provided by the Conservative Party’
The Electoral Commission said in a statement, “We are now satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred.
“We will therefore continue this work as a formal investigation to establish whether this is the case.”
The watchdog said, the investigation will “determine whether any transactions relating” to the refurbishment “fall within the regime regulated by the commission and whether such funding was reported as required.”
“We will provide an update once the investigation is complete.
“We will not be commenting further until that point,” a spokeswoman added