Boris Johnson is facing a THIRD probe into ‘Wallpapergate. Prime Minister under threat from another inquiry into lavish Downing Street flat renovations

  • Yesterday Kwasi Kwarteng said that the watchdog for parliamentary sleaze should resign
  • Boris Johnson is now facing new sleaze inquiries over the Wallpapergate row 
  • The Electoral Commission is currently investigating No 10’s extravagant refurbishment
  • Kathryn Stone, the watchdog for Sleaze Watchdogs, will then decide if she investigates the scandal  

Boris Johnson is facing the threat of a new probe into the lavish revamp of his Downing Street flat by the Commons sleaze watchdog he has attempted to undermine.

The Prime Minister was forced last night to deny claims that his botched effort to overhaul the standards process had been a ‘pre-emptive’ strike on Kathryn Stone.

Cabinet minister Kwasi Kwarteng yesterday suggested the parliamentary standards commissioner’s role was untenable in the wake of the row over Owen Paterson.

Miss Stone can now reveal that the PM himself is under investigation.

According to the Daily Mail, the commissioner will decide whether or not to open an investigation into the funding of the refurbishment after a separate probe by the Electoral Commission has been completed.

Boris Johnson, pictured here with his wife Carrie during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall in June, is facing a new sleaze probe into his affairs, this time in relation to the controversial refurbishment of his Downing Street flat

Boris Johnson (pictured here with Carrie, his wife, during the G7 summit at Carbis Bay, Cornwall, June) is now facing a new sleaze probe into all his affairs, this one in relation to the controversial refurbishment his Downing Street apartment.

Boris Johnson commissioned eco-friendly interior designer Lulu Lytle whose gold wallpaper can cost as much as £840 a roll. Tory donor Lord Brownlow initially paid an invoice to over some of the costs before the BP settled the bill himself

Boris Johnson commissioned eco-friendly interior designer Lulu Lytle whose gold wallpaper can cost as much as £840 a roll. Lord Brownlow, Tory donor and founder of the Tory Party, initially paid an invoicing to cover some of the costs. However, BP settled the bill before Lulu Lytle could pay the invoice. 

The Commission has now handed its initial findings to Tory party leaders, who have the opportunity to respond.

Lord Brownlow, a Tory donor and financier, paid an invoice for some of the costs. This effectively granted Mr Johnson a loan. The PM then settled the bill. The Mail published several exposes and this was not made public. Eco-friendly interior designer Lulu Lytle was hired to transform the flat with gold wallpaper costing as much as £840 a roll.

Lord Geidt, the ministerial standards adviser, earlier this year found Mr Johnson did not breach the ministerial code but acted ‘unwisely’ in allowing the refurbishment to go ahead without ‘more rigorous regard for how this would be funded’.

The Electoral Commission is conducting a separate investigation to see if donations to the party have been properly declared.

If Miss Stone goes ahead, she would ask Miss Stone to investigate the matter. Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner requested in June that she investigate. Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former chief aide, yesterday claimed in a tweet that the Government’s bid to change the standards process to spare Mr Paterson from being punished was actually ‘a pre-emptive strike by [the]PM [the]EC (Electoral Commission). [Miss] Stone’.

But No 10 denied the planned overhaul had been designed to protect Mr Johnson’s own interests. Mr Johnson has repeatedly clashed with Parliament’s sleaze watchdogs. In July, he was criticised for failing to explain promptly how a £15,000 holiday in Mustique was paid for.

Miss Stone also found him to have broken the code of conduct for the 2020 New Year break, but he was able to escape with a slap on her wrist because the committee on standards overruled his request.

The committee said it was nevertheless ‘regrettable’ that a full explanation was not given before.

The probe began in February last year after the Mail revealed there were questions over who paid for the PM’s ten-day stay on the luxury Caribbean island. He had claimed the £15,000 cost of his accommodation was a gift from Carphone Warehouse founder David Ross.

Multimillionaire businessman, however, claimed that he did not own the villa or had paid for its use. Following an investigation, Miss Stone found Mr Johnson breached the MPs’ code by having not ‘fulfilled conscientiously’ requirements for registering the stay. After the committee received the commissioner’s report, its chairman Labour MP Chris Bryant wrote to Mr Johnson and Mr Ross demanding more information.

Their replies revealed an ‘ad hoc arrangement’ under which the Mustique Company paid the owners of the villa Mr Johnson stayed in and Mr Ross reimbursed them.

So the committee concluded Mr Ross was the funder of Mr Johnson’s accommodation, meaning the PM’s first declaration was accurate. But it said: ‘This matter could have been concluded many months ago if more strenuous efforts had been made to dispel the uncertainty.’

Boris Johnson admits he got a free holiday at pal Goldsmith’s family villa

The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed that he enjoyed a free holiday in a luxury Spanish villa owned by Zac Goldsmith’s family.

After the Conservative Party conference, he spent about a week at the property high above Marbella.

Boris Johnson has revealed in the most recent register of ministerial interests that the getaway was funded and paid for by Lord Goldsmith, an ex-MP to whom he had given a peerage following his loss of his Commons seat.

Although the holiday’s value was not disclosed, it will need to be reported on the Commons Register of financial interests. Stays in the Costa del Sol holiday home set in 600 acres of grounds have previously been marketed at up to £25,000 a week.

The register published yesterday said: ‘The Prime Minister has a longstanding personal friendship with the Goldsmith family and, in that capacity, in October 2021, stayed in a holiday home in southern Spain which was provided free of charge by the Goldsmiths.

‘Given Lord Goldsmith is a Minister of the Crown, the arrangement has accordingly been declared.’

The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed that he enjoyed a free holiday in a luxury Spanish villa, pictured, owned by Zac Goldsmith¿s family

The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed that he enjoyed a free holiday in a luxury Spanish villa, pictured, owned by Zac Goldsmith’s family

Mr Johnson was on holiday with Carrie, his pregnant wife, and Wilf, their son. It has been described as a ‘babymoon’ before the birth of their second child later this year.

At the time, Downing Street argued it was important for everyone to ‘take a break’ as it defended the decision to go on holiday during the energy crisis.

A No 10 spokesman said Mr Johnson remained ‘in charge’ of the country and was talking to world leaders including Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman while at the villa, which has tennis courts and three swimming pools.

In the 2019 election, Lord Goldsmith lost Richmond Park. Johnson granted him a peerage to allow him to remain a junior Minister.