PMQs RECAP: Boris Johnson denies using Conservative Party donor's money to pay for Downing Street flat renovations

A breakdown of the key moments from Boris Johnson’s appearance before MPs on Wednesday afternoon.

The Prime Minister has been accused of lying over flat renovation costs, with his own spokesman refusing to say whether he received a loan from the party to pay for it.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

And today, the Electoral Commission announced a formal investigation will take place into the makeover of Boris Johnson s Downing Street flat.

Boris Johnson faces MPs at Prime Minister's Questions.

PMQs RECAP: Johnson grilled by MPs over accusations of ‘Tory sleaze’

Last updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2021, 13:08

PM: I met my obligations on Downing Street renovations

I have met the requirements that I have been obliged to meet in full.

Boris Johnson

Questions on Lord Brownlow

Sir Keir Starmer asked whether Lord Brownlow made a contribution to cover the cost of the Downing Street flat refurbishment and asked the Prime Minister to confirm “did Lord Brownlow make that payment for that purpose?”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I think I have answered this question several times now and the answer is that I have covered the cost.

PM asked whether he is a liar

The BBC and ITV have multiple sources who are willing to confirm under oath that the Prime Minister said he was willing to let the bodies pile up. Are you a liar, Prime Minister?

Ian Blackford, SNP

‘Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership'

Sir Keir Starmer listed the principles meant to govern those in public office, telling the Commons: “Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

“Instead, what do we get from this Prime Minister and Conservative government?

“Dodgy contracts, jobs for their mates and cash for access – and who is at the heart of it? The Prime Minister, major sleaze sitting there.”

The Labour leader then criticised the Government’s record on crime, NHS waiting lists and jobs, adding: “Don’t the British people deserve a Prime Minister they can trust and a Government that isn’t mired in sleaze, cronyism and scandal?”

Labour playing political games, says Johnson

Boris Johnson delivered a fiery and shouty response to Sir Keir and defended his record in Government, also telling MPs: “Last night our friends in the European Union voted to approve our Brexit deal – which he opposed.”

Mr Johnson went on: “Week after week the people of this country can see the difference between a Labour Party that twists and turns with the wind and thinks of nothing except playing political games, whereas this party gets on with delivering on the people’s priorities.”

What is the PM accused of?

Mr Johnson is accused of using £58,000 of donated party funds for the redecoration, yet no such donation had been declared to the Electoral Commission.

While the Prime Minister has insisted that he paid for the renovations, it is alleged that Lord Brownlow, a Conservative Party donor, fronted the money initially.

HoC Speaker: Blackford comments ‘not savoury’

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford raised the UK Covid death toll, asking: “Are you a liar, Prime Minister?”

He said: “NHS staff have given their all fighting to keep people alive, that’s why so many people find the Prime Minister’s remark that he would rather let the bodies pile high in their thousands than go into lockdown, utterly, utterly sickening.

“People are willing to go under oath confirming that the Prime Minister said these exact words… Parliamentary rules stop me from saying that the Prime Minister has repeatedly lied to the public over the last week, but can I ask the question, are you a liar Prime Minister?”

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: “Can I just say unfortunately they’re in order, but were not savoury and not what we would expect.”

Mr Johnson replied: “If he is going to relay that kind of quotation, it is up to him in a place like Parliament to produce the author, the person who claims to have heard it, because I can’t find them, he’s says that they’re willing to go oath. Perhaps they’re sitting somewhere in this building, I rather doubt it because I didn’t say those words.

“What I do believe is that a lockdown is a miserable, miserable thing and I did everything I could to try to protect the British public throughout the pandemic, to protect them from lockdowns, but also to protect them from disease … We grieve, as I know the whole House grieves, for every family that has lost a loved one.”

PM: Corruption allegations are distraction

Boris Johnson accused people of raising allegations of corruption and dishonesty against him as they are “absolutely determined” to talk about anything other than the vaccine rollout.

Labour’s Janet Daby (Lewisham East) told the Commons: “It is absolutely shocking that we have heard that the Electoral Commission is investigating funding of the Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat, saying that there are reasonable grounds to suspect an offence.

“Why does the Prime Minister think all of these stories about sleaze, corruption and dishonesty keep happening to him and his Conservative government?”

Mr Johnson replied: “I tell you what, I think because people are absolutely determined to find anything they can hang on to to talk about except the vaccine rollout, except our plans to unite and level up across the country, except our plans to fight crime and give people the opportunity to buy their own homes, because they don’t want to discuss those issues because they can’t win on those issues because they have got absolutely nothing to say.

“That is what has become clear over the last year.”

The Scotman analysis of PMQs

Boris Johnson refuses to answer who initially paid for Downing Street renovation

Boris Johnson has today refused to answer who initially paid for the Downing Street renovation.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Page 2 of 3
 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.