United Kingdom

Rayner questions PM’s £200k refurb go-ahead without knowing who paid for it

LABOUR and the SNP have criticised the UK Government after the Prime Minister was cleared of wrongdoing over his flat renovation. 

The independent adviser on ministerial standards, appointed by Boris Johnson, published a report earlier today absolving the Prime Minister of any breach of the ministerial code. 

Lord Geidt also said health secretary Matt Hancock had acted properly, but committed a minor breach, by failing to declare that his sister owned a company which was awarded a lucrative NHS contract in 2019 while he was the government’s health chief. 

READ MORE: ‘Ill-served’ Johnson ‘unwisely’ agreed to flat refurb but did not break ministerial code

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner questioned how Mr Johnson could have a reported £200,000 renovation done to his Downing Street flat  “yet have no knowledge of how it was eventually paid”, as stated in Lord Geidt’s report.

The peer said the Prime Minister only became aware that the bill for the luxury renovation had been paid by Tory donor Lord Brownlow shortly before the issue was reported by the media. 

Ms Rayner said: “The Conservatives think it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else. Throughout this pandemic, the Government has shown utter disregard for taxpayers’ money, using the public purse as a personal cashpoint.

“It’s staggering that the Prime Minister could rack up a £200,000 bill for a luxury refurbishment yet have no knowledge of how it was eventually paid.”

On Matt Hancock, she added: “With the charge sheet against the Health Secretary getting longer and longer, Boris Johnson needs to explain why the public should trust him to lead such a major government department.”

Mr Hancock was found to have committed a minor breach of the ministerial code after his sister’s company Topwood Ltd was awarded a three-year NHS contract in 2019, however he failed to declare his connection to the company at the time. 

Ms Rayner continued: “The Government has at long last admitted that a Tory donor has been funding the Prime Minister’s private life. We know this isn’t the only aspect of the Prime Minister’s lifestyle that may be being funded by Tory donors – No 10 must now come clean about how far this goes.

“Any government documents relating to Lord Brownlow should be published to prove that no conflict of interest exists.”

The SNP’s deputy Westminster Leader Kirsten Oswald said the Westminster government was a “circus”.

She said: “The chaos and cronyism within Whitehall and Westminster has become evident in recent days – it is a broken system that doesn’t work for Scotland.

“Scotland shouldn’t be held back by the circus that is this UK government.” 

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