Liz Truss insists Boris Johnson ‘met the costs of the refurbishment of the flat’
Boris Johnson has been accused of saying that he would rather allow “bodies [to] pile high in their thousands” than impose another lockdown late last year. No 10 has strongly denied he made the remark, calling it “just another lie”.
It comes as Labour launches a legal bid for the Electoral Commission to investigate exactly how Mr Johnson paid for the lavish refurbishment of his Downing Street flat. HMRC is said to be seeking “clarification” on where the £58,000 to pay for the refurbishment.
Mr Johnson’s cabinet secretary Simon Case will be questioned by MPs on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee about various claims made by Dominic Cummings on Monday.
The nation’s top civil servant is expected to be asked about Mr Cummings’ allegation that the PM considered scrapping an inquiry into leaks about second lockdown discussions in case it implicated a friend of his fiancée Carrie Symonds.
Is Boris Johnson sleazy? ‘I don’t think so,’ says minister
Ben Wallace denied Boris Johnson is “sleazy”, amid allegations that he asked for support from Tory donors to fund the refurb of his Downing Street living quarters.
The defence secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Do I think the prime minister is sleazy? No, I don’t”.
He added: “Let’s not forget, while we are getting into Oscar-type gossip columns – there is an awful lot of gossip going around. He paid out of his own money to refurbish the flat. He paid for his flat.”
Wallace told Sky News that reports that the PM said he would rather see “bodies pile high in their thousands” than order a third lockdown were “not true”.
“We are getting into the sort of comedy chapter now of these gossip stories – unnamed sources, by unnamed advisers talking about unnamed events.”
Adam Forrest26 April 2021 08:56
Labour demands ministers public Covid contract details
Attempting to keep the pressure on over “sleaze”, Labour is urging all government ministers with links to companies that won Covid-19 contracts to publish emails and text messages with their business contacts, in order to prove that nothing improper has taken place.
In a letter to her counterpart, Michael Gove, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, Rachel Reeves, said that there was “a growing impression that there is one set of rules for ministers and their close friends, and another for the rest of the British public”.
Adam Forrest26 April 2021 08:50
HMRC seeks ‘clarification’ over flat refurb money
HMRC will seek “clarification” from No 10 on where the £58,000 to pay for the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat came from and whether the sum should have been declared, according to the i newspaper.
An official for the tax authority said that the PM would be “treated like any other taxpayer” as it asks questions about the money.
Johnson paid for the work “from his own pocket”, international trade secretary Liz Truss insisted on Sunday – but avoided answering repeated questions about whether a Tory donor initially provided the £58,000 for the work.
Adam Forrest26 April 2021 08:38
Cabinet secretary faces grilling on Cummings’ leak claims
Boris Johnson’s cabinet secretary Simon Case will be questioned by MPs on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee at 2.15pm.
The nation’s top civil servant is expected to be asked about Dominic Cummings’ allegation that the PM considered scrapping an inquiry into leaks about a second lockdown in case it implicated one of Carrie Symonds’ friends.
Whitehall officials have said that Cummings has not been exonerated in the so-called “chatty rat” probe, despite his blog post.
Weekend reports cited anonymous officials claiming that MI5 had concluded that the second lockdown leaks came from Cummings’ sim card.
Adam Forrest26 April 2021 08:35
No 10 denies PM said ‘let the bodies pile high’
Boris Johnson has been accused of saying that he would rather allow “bodies [to] pile high in their thousands” than impose another lockdown.
It was reported in the Daily Mail that the PM made the remark after he ordered the second lockdown at the end of October.
No 10 has strongly denied that Johnson made the comment and said it was “just another lie”. But the sources who allege he made the comment back their claim.
They say Johnson lost his temper and “raged” after agreeing to new restrictions following a meeting in No 10, allegedly adding: “No more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands.”
A Labour spokesman said: “If this report is true, then these are truly shocking and sickening comments from Boris Johnson.”
Adam Forrest26 April 2021 08:30
Labour demands Electoral Commission probe into flat refurb
Labour has launched a legal bid for the Electoral Commission to investigate how Boris Johnson paid for the lavish refurbishment of his Downing Street flat – and whether he broke electoral law.
The party’s lawyers late on Sunday sent a formal letter to the watchdog stating that it was “now incontrovertibly in the public interest” to “commence a formal investigation” into the PM’s activities.
The PM paid for the work “from his own pocket”, international trade secretary Liz Truss insisted on Marr on Sunday – but avoided answering repeated questions about whether a Tory donor initially provided the £58,000 for the work.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “Tell us about where you’re getting this money from, Boris, to do up your flat.”
Adam Forrest26 April 2021 08:28