Home » Politics » Laura Kuenssberg warns ‘stakes are so high’ for Boris over PM’s ‘relationship with truth’
Laura Kuenssberg warns ‘stakes are so high’ for Boris over PM’s ‘relationship with truth’
May 2, 2021
Andrew Marr quizzes Truss on Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds
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While Downing Street continues to deny any wrongdoing on Mr Johnson’s part, the row over the luxurious revamp of his No 11 flat has escalated to a full-blown political crisis. The Beeb’s political editor said while Mr Johnson has gotten in trouble over his lack of truthfulness in the past, this time around it is much more serious.
Ms Kuenssberg said: “The Prime Minister’s relationship with the truth is under intense scrutiny at the moment. He is refusing to give full explanations on some issues.
“There are questions about how the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat was initially funded, and about incendiary comments he made last autumn as England was about to enter a second lockdown.”
She added: “It is not the first time in Boris Johnson’s long career that he has faced questions about his conduct and character. But the stakes are so much higher now.”
This weekend reports suggested Tory party staff were sent an email ordering them to hand over all communication related to the renovations or they will face criminal consequences.
The Electoral Commission and Simon Case, the UK’s top civil servant, are conducting separate probes into the financing of the redecoration of the flat above 11 Downing Street.
Mr Johnson shares the flat with his fiancée Carrie Symonds and their one-year-old son Wilfred.
The Times and The Sun reported all Conservative Party staff received an email from human resources in the name of Alan Mabbutt, a senior official and registered legal officer, about the
Commission’s inquiry which told them: “You are put on notice that this is a criminal investigation.”
The email instructed that all communications had to be provided to the investigation by May 7.
Mr Johnson has denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the row as a “farrago of nonsense”, adding: “I don’t think there’s anything to see here.”
He says he “personally” paid for the renovations but has refused to say whether he received an initial donation from the Conservative Party to cover the costs.
Ms Symonds was said to have enlisted upmarket interior designer Lulu Lytle to revamp the living space and get rid of the John Lewis furniture left behind by Theresa May in 2019.
The taxpayer funds a £30,000 annual allowance but the redecorations have stretched beyond that.
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Some reports suggest the upgrades hit the £200,000 mark while a leaked email suggested Tory peer Lord Brownlow was making a £58,000 donation to the Conservatives “to cover the payments the party has already made on behalf of the soon-to-be-formed ‘Downing Street Trust”‘.
Mr Johnson is also in hot water over reports he said he would rather see “bodies pile high” than take England into a third lockdown.
The conversation, relayed to the media by sources in No10, were said to have been made last Autumn just as England had entered its second nationwide shutdown.
Asked about his alleged comments in an interview, Mr Johnson denied he had said such things.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Dominic Raab addressed the worsening Covid crisis in India.
The foreign secretary said the UK had secured a billion Covid vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable countries.
The crisis in India has raised fears of a surge in cases in the UK but the strict travel ban has eased concerns.
Mr Raab said England remains on track to continue with its easing of restrictions and said the fourth step of the road map would not end before June 21.
He said safeguards would remain in place after that date.