It is no secret that Boris Johnson chose a rather questionable time to refurbish his luxury London flat. While most people across the UK were struggling to make ends meet, the Prime Minister raised eyebrows by spending a small fortune on predominantly unnecessary adornments.
The exact amount he borrowed to pay for the refurbishments has been revealed: an eye-watering £52,000. Having been questioned on where the funds came from, the Conservative Party has now admitted that Boris Johnson “personally settled the costs incurred by Lord Brownlow”, a party donor who helped finance the work.
Having previously described what was once the home of Theresa May as a “John Lewis furniture nightmare”, his wife, Carrie, made no secret of her disdain for its décor. Disdain was so severe that the pair thought it sensible to hire top designer Lulu Lytle to oversee its overhaul, which, according to insiders, included £840-a-roll golden wallpaper.
Not that such a high price guarantees quality; as rumour has it, the elaborate wall covering has peeled away from its surface.
A painful price paid by the taxpayer
Documents have now confirmed that the loan repaid by Boris Johnson came alongside an additional £28,600 paid by you, the UK taxpayer. Tasks including painting and sanding his floorboards were funded straight from the pockets of the British public, leaving sour tastes in the mouths of many.
Published financial accounts from the Conservative Party indicate a “bridging loan” of £52,802 repaid by Johnson out of party funds last summer. Lord Ludlow would then go on to cover these costs, but no declaration was made to the Electronic Commission.
Even though the law clearly states that all donations and loans to political parties of five figures or more must be reported,
“All reportable donations to the Conservative Party are correctly declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law. Gifts and benefits received in a ministerial capacity are, and will continue to be, declared in government transparency returns,” was the response from the conservative Party, clearly refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
Questions remain as to how the refurbishment was originally funded and how much the project cost in total. Despite the declaration from the Conservative Party, numerous reports suggest that he may have spent more than £200,000 breaking into his new flat.
Again, all at a time when the rest of the country was struggling to make ends meet and facing a terrifyingly uncertain financial future.