Boris Johnson tried to divert the political spotlight from the sordid today with just a week before the critical election.
The PM released a home video promising more police officers, before visiting a West London school alongside Rishi Sunak.
“I don’t think there is anything here to see or worry about,” he told broadcasters.
Mr Johnson was backed by two polls putting Tories ahead of Labor.
BMG Research found that when asked to choose between Mr Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer as Prime Minister, the proportion who chose the Tory leader increased by five points to 40%, while the proportion who chose the Labor leader fell four points to 24.
Senior Conservatives have claimed that the harassment allegations that have harassed the government are not being passed on to voters. One said: ‘I have only received one angry email since Dominic Cummings attacked the PM – but I had over a thousand when Cummings went to Barnard. Castle. “
The first big test will take place on May 6, when voters head to the polls in Scotland and London and elect local councils. The Tories are poised to take losses in most areas, but hope to win a by-election in Hartlepool, previously a secure Labor seat.
A tired-looking Mr Johnson recorded his video at No.10 using a selfie stick.
“Hi people, this is a government that believes in achieving the priorities of the people,” he began. “Above all, make our streets safer by recruiting thousands of additional police officers.”
The question in Westminster was whether these police officers would question senior Tories after the Election Commission announced that it had found “reasonable grounds” to suspect that party donation laws had been broken in relation to a potential payment to the Prime Minister’s apartment.
A senior minister has suggested Mr Johnson is ready to make further public statements about funding a lavish renovation if his new ministerial conduct adviser Lord Geidt advises him to do so.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News: “If Lord Geidt, in his investigation, asks the Prime Minister to make further statements, he will too.”
Mr Zahawi said the main question bothering taxpayers was whether there were any costs falling on public finances, adding: ‘He paid for the renovation, unlike previous prime ministers – Tony Blair, I think, spent around 300,000 £ for refurbishment of apartment no. 10 overtime. “
Phantom Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves said Lord Geidt’s role was too weak as he could not investigate allegations of wrongdoing without the Prime Minister’s approval. “The Prime Minister cannot be judge and jury on the behavior of his ministers – or even his own -” she said.
“The Prime Minister should not be able to block investigations of his ministers or himself when he breaks the ministerial code.”
Mr Zahawi replied: “The Prime Minister will make absolutely sure to provide whatever Lord Geidt asks for in order to be able to conduct this investigation.”
Asked why John Lewis’s furniture was ‘not good enough’ for Mr Johnson, Mr Zahawi said it didn’t matter who or who was behind the renovations but who paid for the renovation.
According to Tatler magazine, the Prime Minister’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, felt that Theresa May had left a “John Lewis nightmare” at the apartment.
“Whether it’s John Lewis or Lulu Lytle, the important thing for your listeners is that the Prime Minister paid for it, not the taxpayer,” Zahawi said.
Senior Conservative MP Simon Hoare tweeted that his own house was filled with furniture from John Lewis. “JL curtains, bed, bedding, bedside lamps for Mrs H and me. JL porcelain breakfast on a JL tray. We love JL (as it’s probably clear by now). “
Sir Keir Starmer, on an election campaign visit to Manchester, said: “I think this is getting a little ridiculous. I think the Prime Minister could actually fix the problem very, very quickly. All he has to do is answer a very simple question; who paid for the renovation of your apartment in the first place? ”
He added, “If there is an innocent explanation, the easiest way is to create a pool of cameras, take the question and answer it.” He said Mr Johnson “should do this this morning so we can move on”.
WHO’S WHO AT DOWNING STREET WALLPAPERGATE PAPER CHASE
Boris and Carrie
The Prime Minister and his fiancee Carrie Symonds are at the heart of this crisis. Prime Ministers are given an annual budget of up to £ 30,000 for renovations, but reports suggest they have spent up to £ 200,000 on the renovation. The Prime Minister is believed to have sought help from Tory donors and now faces serious questions as to whether the funds were used and correctly reported. Boris Johnson, his ministers and his spokespersons have repeatedly insisted that he paid for it himself. However, the major question remains unanswered. Who initially paid for the makeover?
Boris Johnson’s former senior adviser spilled gasoline on the fire when he dropped an explosive blog in response to Downing Street accusations he leaked to the press. Cummings retaliated by accusing his former boss of “possibly illegal” behavior by “covertly” using Tory donors to pay for renovations. Downing Street is worried about any new ammunition the Vote Leave mastermind may release.
Emails obtained by the Daily Mail revealed a plan for Conservative peer Lord Brownlow to chair a trust that would fund the upkeep of the Downing Street building. Lord Brownlow told Conservative Party leaders in October he had given them £ 58,000 to cover payments already made by the party on behalf of the trust and a separate donation of £ 15,000. However, only the £ 15,000 was declared in the records of the Election Commission.
Co-chairman of the Conservative Party and nephew of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. It was copied in the leaked email about Lord Brownlow’s donations. He is likely to question whether the funds were correctly declared. It has been claimed that Mr Elliot warned the Prime Minister in February last year that the alleged plans were “madness”, according to the Times.
Lord Brownlow’s email, dated October 14, 2020, was reportedly sent to the Conservatives’ fundraiser.
The minister and the co-chair of the Conservative party, Amanda Milling, could also be arrested. The question centers on whether Conservative Party funds were used to pay for the apartment at some point. If it turns out that the Tories solicited a donation but planned to register it with the Election Commission as a political donation, it could have legal ramifications. Last month Ms Milling told the Telegraph: “Conservative Party funds are not being used to pay for the Downing Street apartment.”
The Cabinet Secretary and Prince William’s former private secretary have been asked to review plans to form a trust fund in Downing Street after it was leaked to the press. He judged that it might be possible to create a trust in the future, but that it was not possible for him to pay for the work in retrospect.
Pairs de Banc, who served as the Queen’s private secretary for 10 years, was appointed the new “independent adviser” on ministerial standards. He will conduct an investigation into the financing of the makeover. However, Boris Johnson will have the final say on whether he broke the rules as he remains the “ultimate arbiter” of any ministerial code investigation.