Boris Johnson has insisted he personally paid for the makeover on his Downing Street flat after it was announced the funding would be investigated.
But the PM refused to say who paid the initial invoice during a heated clash with Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs.
The Labour leader said: ‘Who initially, and Prime Minister, initially is the key word here, who initially paid for the redecoration of his Downing Street flat?’
Boris Johnson replied: ‘As for the latest stuff that he is bringing up, he should know that I have paid for Downing Street refurbishment personally.’
The prime minister added that ‘any further declaration that I have to make – if any – I will be advised upon by Lord Geidt’, who is the new adviser on ministers’ interests.
The Electoral Commission said it is investigating the funding and that is believes there are ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect an offence has occurred.
The PM claimed the public would find the issue ‘bizarre’ as he dodged the Labour leader’s question on who paid the initial invoice.
LSir Keir Starmer pushed again on the payment for the Downing Street flat refurbishment and offered the Prime Minister ‘multiple choice’.
He said: ‘Either the taxpayer paid the initial invoice, or it was the Conservative Party, or it was a private donor, or it was the Prime Minister.’
Responding, Boris Johnson talked about former Labour governments’ spending on the flat and said: ‘I think people will think it absolutely bizarre that he is focusing on this issue when what people want to know is what plans a Labour government might have to improve the life of people in this country.’
An Electoral Commission spokesperson said: ‘We have been in contact with the Conservative Party since late March and have conducted an assessment of the information they have provided to us.
‘We are now satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred. We will therefore continue this work as a formal investigation to establish whether this is the case.
‘The investigation will determine whether any transactions relating to the works at 11 Downing Street fall within the regime regulated by the Commission and whether such funding was reported as required.
‘We will provide an update once the investigation is complete. We will not be commenting further until that point.’
More to follow
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