New Prime Minister should let public judge Boris and Carrie Johnson's revamp of Downing Street flat, gold wallpaper and all – Scotsman comment

When Boris Johnson and the then Carrie Symonds moved into their Downing Street flat, they decided the decor had to go.

If only cats could talk, what tales of opulence Larry could tell (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
If only cats could talk, what tales of opulence Larry could tell (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

According to some, ‘Carrie Antoinette’, as she was dubbed, was determined to get rid of the “John Lewis nightmare” left by Theresa May.

Whether this remark is as apocryphal as Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake”, which the guillotined French queen did not actually say, is unclear.

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However, what is true is that a vast amount of money – apparently about £200,000 – was spent on a revamp that included some decidedly regal gold wallpaper.

Gold walls? We suppose that might be nice but, unless done particularly well, it really could be hideously gaudy.

So will Johnson’s successor decide to spend another small fortune on ripping it all out? Will future Prime Ministers compete to outdo each other until this relatively modest townhouse flat is transformed into a multi-million-pound monument to bad taste?

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John Lewis wallpaper snob Boris Johnson faces trouble ahead over his attitude to...

Asked if she was planning to make any changes, Liz Truss gave what the more ham-fisted of PR execs probably think is a good answer: “I'm not going to have the time to be thinking about the wallpaper in No 10.”

But she’s quite right to leave it. At that price, the flat should not be getting done up for another half century or so.

Then again, maybe we should be more sympathetic. If it’s really, really bad, perhaps the court of public opinion should allow an appeal on human rights grounds.

So, essentially, we need a tour of the flat. We’re not being nosey, not at all. We just need to see how bad – or good – it is.


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