Boris Johnson was subjected to a grilling led by the UK opposition in parliament on Wednesday over the financing of lavish refurbishment works on his flat in Downing Street, with the Prime Minister’s adherence to the Ministerial Code of Conduct for Westminster politicians regarding gifts and donations called into question.
Boris Johnson may find himself the first serving prime minister to be ‘interviewed under caution’ in relation to an alleged breach of the law, after the announcement that the Electoral Commission has opened a formal investigation into the funding of the costly refurbishment of the official flat that the UK PM shares with his partner Carrie Symonds and their son.
“We are now satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred,” reads the Wednesday announcement of the watchdog endowed with powers to demand documents and interview witnesses under caution.
The announced move by the watchdog reportedly has Downing Street concerned that damning evidence may be uncovered at Conservative Party headquarters, shedding light on the alleged involvement of a Tory donor in funding Johnson’s flat revamp, writes The Times.
“The worry is that there could be a paper trail… There was a very limited number of people who knew about the funding arrangements at CCHQ. It’s not clear how this will end,” a source at Downing Street was cited as saying by the outlet.
The other issue ostensibly concerns the watchdog possibly interviewing Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s former chief adviser.
It has been claimed that Cummings had decried the alleged plan for Tory Party donors to cover the costs of the refurbishment as “unethical” and, perhaps, illegal.
Cummings revealed he had warned Johnson that the plans “almost certainly broke the rules” on the disclosure of donations, in a blog published last week, adding that he would gladly speak to the commission.