UK's election watchdog asks Conservatives how Johnson paid for apartment's renovation

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Mar 21, 2021, 11:15 AM(IST)

Britain PM Boris Johnson Photograph:( Reuters )

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The commission reportedly urged the party to ascertain whether the expenses fall within the ambit of election body’s regulation

The United Kingdom’s Electoral Commission has asked the Conservative party how Prime Minister Boris Johnson was able to pay for the renovation of his Downing Street apartment.

The refurbishment work cost almost $83,220 (£60,000) so far. The commission reportedly urged the party to ascertain whether the expenses fall within the ambit of election body’s regulation.

Tensions between the commission and the Conservative party have been brewing for some time. Last year, Amanda Milling, co-chair of the party called for the abolition of the election watchdog, and said that it is not fit for “purpose”.

The Labour Party also hit at the PM asking him to reveal if any “special favours” are owed to donors who funded the renovation of his apartment.

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Daily Mail on Saturday reported that a secret payment worth the same amount as renovation was initiated by the Conservative party in 2020. Mail claims that this amount was reimbursed by Lord Brownlow, but the declaration wasn’t made to either the Electoral Commission or the House of Commons.

Downing Street has been attempting to set up a charity to pay for the interior redesigning of the apartment. The PM receives £30,000 annual allowance for accommodation, while the renovation plans could cost over £200,000.

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Johnson’s press secretary Allegra Stratton earlier this month claimed that every facet of the renovation is being recorded, and that party funds are not being used to pay for renovation of the estate.

The Electoral Commission claims that it is intact with the party to ascertain whether any of these funding measures could be under the organisation’s regulatory powers.

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