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PM Boris Johnson faces a formal probe over funding of apartment renovation

PM Boris Johnson faces a formal probe

April 29, 2021: -Britain’s electoral commission has started a formal investigation into the financing of the refurbishment of PM Boris Johnson’s Downing Street apartment and said that there were grounds to suspect an offense may have been committed.

Almost a week before local elections across England and the election of the Welsh and Scottish regional assemblies, Johnson faces a stream of allegations about everything from his first chaotic handling of the Covid-19 crisis to the investigation about who leaked what from his office.

“We are now satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offense or offenses may have occurred,” the electoral commission said. “We will continue this work as a formal investigation to establish whether this is the case.” According to the commission, it had been in contact with Johnson’s Conservative Party over the issue since late March.

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.

Johnson has a taxpayer-funded £30,000 allowance each year for maintaining and furnishing his official residence, but anything above that is supposed to come out of the prime minister’s pocket.

According to the Ministers, Johnson has paid for the work himself, but it is unclear when he produced and whether the refurbishment, reported having cost £200,000, was financed by a loan of some kind. Johnson would have been required to declare this under political financing rules.

The opposition Labour Party now demands an explanation.

Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s key adviser on the Brexit campaign and helped him win an election in 2019, said on Friday that Johnson had wanted donors to pay for the renovation secretly. Cummings said he had told the prime minister such plans were “unethical, foolish, possibly illegal.”

On Monday, Johnson told broadcasters when asked whether he had remarked, “No, but again, I think the important thing, I think, that people want us to get on and do as a government is to make sure that the lockdowns work, and they have.”

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