Boris Johnson is shamed into paying £58,000 bill for the Downing Street refurbishment himself after the Tory Party settled it then tried to disguise the truth
- The Mail first revealed in Feb the PM asked Tory donors to contribute to the cost
- In an email donor Lord Brownlow had said he had given £58,000 towards it
- Said donation should be attributed to ‘soon to be formed Downing Street Trust’
The Mail first revealed in February that the Prime Minister had asked Tory donors to contribute to the cost of redecorating, amid fears that spending ordered by his fiancee Carrie Symonds was ‘out of control’.
His bid to sweep the scandal under the plush carpet collapsed on Wednesday, when the Mail published damning emails sent to party chairman Ben Elliot, a nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Mail first revealed in February that the Prime Minister had asked Tory donors to contribute to the cost of redecorating
In one, sent in October, Tory donor Lord Brownlow said he had given £58,000 to cover payments ‘the party has already made’. Lord Brownlow added that the donation should be attributed to the ‘soon to be formed Downing Street Trust’.
A second email showed that the multimillionaire, an ex-policeman turned entrepreneur, had been asked to run the trust by Mr Johnson personally last June.
The proposed trust was purportedly intended to preserve the entire Downing Street estate, but it did not exist at the time of the donation – and still doesn’t.
Critics claim the idea was a ruse to recoup money spent on the Number 11 flat. Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds live there as it is larger than the space above No 10.
Miss Symonds was reportedly eager to get rid of the ‘John Lewis furniture nightmare’ inherited from Theresa May.
This led her to commission the modish – and expensive – eco-friendly interior designer Lulu Lytle, whose work includes rattan furniture, gold wallpaper and wrought-iron finishings.
Miss Symonds was reportedly eager to get rid of the ‘John Lewis furniture nightmare’ inherited from Theresa May which led her to commission the modisheco-friendly interior designer Lulu Lytle
Many people within the Tory party and the Government were furious the PM wanted donors to pay for the revamp
Admirers of her decor include Prince Charles, who visited her Leicester workshop last year.
Multiple sources at senior levels of the Government and Conservative Party have expressed outraged that Mr Johnson, 56, and Miss Symonds, 33, not only refused to pay for their revamp, but also wanted Tory donors to bail them out.
The Government appeared to try to bury Mr Johnson’s climbdown yesterday by having it announced in the House of Lords by Cabinet Office minister Lord True.
Carrie Symonds was reportedly eager to get rid of the ‘John Lewis furniture nightmare’ inherited from Theresa May so turned to Lulu Lytle (pictured)
He said the cost of work on ‘painting, sanding and floorboards’ in the flat would be met by the taxpayer, but ‘any costs of wider refurbishment in this year have been met by the Prime Minister personally’.
Those sixteen words are likely to have cost Mr Johnson around £58,000.
The Government did not say how much he paid, or when. Lord True said the Government had been ‘considering the merits’ of setting up a trust for future refurbishments, but the ‘legally complex’ plans remain ‘ongoing’.
Despite his £161,000-a-year salary, Mr Johnson’s friends claim he has struggled to make ends meet since entering Downing Street. Confirmed to have at least six children, he has been through an expensive second divorce.