By Claire Gordon • 06 January 2022 • 16:35
Downing Street has revealed a humiliating “lost” text sent by prime minister Boris Johnson to a Tory donor begging for more cash to complete the No11 flat revamp in his grace-and-favour home. It is a message that the PM failed to inform his own ethics advisor about when he sent it in November 2020, as he claimed he had forgotten about it due to it being sent from his old phone.
The text was sent to Tory donor Lord Brownlow as the six-figure redecoration of the apartment that comes with the highest role in English government went incredibly over budget. In the message, Johnson called the home a “bit of a tip” and said he was “keen” to let the designer get on with the project despite the spiralling costs. Lord Brownlow responded with a promise to do so and added: “It’s only me and I know where the £ will come from”.
The Prime Minister was last year accused of lying to the watchdog Lord Geidt, claiming he did not know where the £112,000 No11 flat revamp money had come from, even though he had clearly spoken to the donor. In the face of this, Mr Johnson was today, Thursday 6 January, cleared of any wrongdoing after he said he had ‘forgotten’ about the begging text as it was on an old device.
A security breach was blamed by the prime minister for the switch. His phone number was left online for over a decade but as it was re-discovered again, he had to switch out his phone, he reported. He then made a “humble and sincere” apology to Lord Geidt. It comes after the Conservative Party were fined £17,800 by the Electoral Commission for failing to declare the money in the proper fashion.
The lavish No11 flat revamp cost between £112,000 and £141,000. Eventually, Boris Johnson paid £112,000 of the money himself after a media storm brought the issue to light. But the November begging text shows the lengths went to by the PM to avoid footing the bill.
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