The refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat was originally paid for with cash from Tory donors, the government has confirmed.
The Prime Minister eventually refunded the cost of the lavish upgrade to the apartment above Number 11 Downing Street – but only after press reports of the original source of funds.
The bizarre funding chain was finally confirmed in the fourth footnote on the 208th page of the Cabinet Office’s annual report, which the Government quietly published on Thursday.
It states £28,647 was spent on refurbishments with Mitie Facilities Management Limited at the request of the Prime Minister, which included painting and sanding of floorboards.
The PM is entitled to £30,000 of taxpayers cash each year to spend on the upkeep of the Downing Street residence.
But “additional invoices” were received and paid by the Cabinet Office – and billed to the Conservative Party in July 2020.
The “additional invoices” amount to a £58,000 luxury renovation by eco-designer Lulu Lytle – which was originally funded by Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row, a Tory donor.
The Prime Minister eventually scrapped the deal and paid Lulu Lytle for the work himself in March – but only after details had been published in the press in February.
No10 has consistently refused to reveal the original source of funds for the refurb – stating opaquely that Mr Johnson had “covered the cost” and “settled the full amount” for the work.
But the Electoral Commission is investigating whether the original donation broke the law.
Politicians and parties are required to publish details of donations and loans.
The Commission, which has the power to issue fines of up to £20,000, said: “There are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred.”
Lord Geidt, the independent adviser on ministerial interests, said the PM had “unwisely” allowed the redecoration to go ahead without considering who would pay the bill.
But he stopped short of saying Mr Johnson broke the ministerial code.
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In April 2020 the PM took advice that a charitable Trust to fund works on No10 – including “some if not all of the costs” of refurbishing his private flat above No11 – “could be made to work”.
But Lord Geidt’s report said Mr Johnson “simply accepted” that a Trust could sort out the bill “without further interrogation”.
This idea was scrapped following legal advice.