Boris Johnson’s storm clouds gather around him today, amid allegations that his standards monitor is about to quit over the ‘lies’ regarding funding for Downing Street’s lavish flat refurbishment.

After the No11 row erupted again, the PM now faces a confusing array of challenges. An investigation by the Electoral Commission revealed that he had personally emailed a Tory donor asking for work to be sub-funded.

Jack Doyle is now Mr Johnson’s Director of Communications. Doyle claims that he delivered a speech to Downing Street and gave out prizes during the lockdown-busting holiday gathering.

Open revolt is also being expressed by the Tories over new coronavirus regulations to counter the Omicron strain’s surging effects. Meanwhile, long-standing sleaze allegations appear to have hit the party hard ahead of next week’s crucial North Shropshire By-election.

Even though he won a huge majority of 80 votes just two years back, Johnson is facing grave speculation over his future.

Geoffrey Clifton Brownn is the treasurer of 1922 Committee of backbenchMPs. He warned this morning that Johnson should stabilize the ship during Christmas.

“He has to open up on many of your issues, which you mention in your opening news,” the veteran MP explained.

“We are all going on a Christmas vacation. If he comes back in the new year refreshed, able to differentiate between his private life and public life, and clarify all the issues and then start to do the really big issues that this country needs – restoring the NHS, dealing with carbon emissions and Cop26, how we deal with the economy, helping businesses – we can really get onto that agenda away from these other, sort of, personal issues, then I think he’s fine.

‘But if we go on having these – what I call personal issues, issues of judgment by the Prime Minister – then I think that’s a very different scenario.’

Paul Scully, the business minister, said this in a series of interviews: “Look, I feel very secure about the integrity of Prime Minister. However, it is clear that I am not comfortable with the fact the week has been difficult for the government. 

Reports claim that Lord Geidt is looking into his situation as his Independent Advisor on Ministerial Interests in one of the most dangerous situations facing the premier.    

Mr Johnson previously assured Lord Geidt, a former private secretary to the Queen, that he did not know who was paying for the refurbishment – which was ordered by his wife Carrie Johnson – until February.

The Electoral Commission’s yesterday report revealed that Lord Brownlow, a Tory donor, had requested more work be done by Prime Minister David Cameron. 

These findings allow for another investigation into the Wallpapergate scandal exposed by The Daily Mail.

Downing Street claimed Mr Johnson did not lie to his advisor, noting that Lord Brownlow was the head of a trust proposed to raise funds for refurbishment. However, the plan was abandoned later and the premier didn’t know where the money came from. 

According to a No10 spokesperson, the Prime Minister has followed all rules and was able to act after discussions with Lord Geidt. He has given all the necessary statements.

The commission fined the Conservative Party £17,800 for failing to declare donations properly over the saga, although it is mulling an appeal. 

According to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson could quit his position as standards adviser as quickly as today if he does not provide sufficient explanations as to why Johnson didn’t share crucial information. 

Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street

Mr Johnson at hospital to see his new baby

Storm clouds surround Boris Johnson, pictured leaving No10 yesterday to go to hospital with his newborn baby. This is amid allegations that his standards watchdog may be insolvent over the alleged ‘lies’ regarding funding for the extravagant refurbishment of Downing Street Flat.

The Electoral Commission fined the Conservatives £17,800 for failing to properly declare almost £68,000 mostly used to pay for the refurbishment of the private quarters used by Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and their son Wilfred. Above: The flat was designed by Lulu Lyttle in a similar style to the above

The Electoral Commission fined the Conservatives £17,800 for failing to properly declare almost £68,000 mostly used to pay for the refurbishment of the private quarters used by Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and their son Wilfred. Above: Lulu Lyttle designed this flat in the same style as the previous. 

There were reports last night that Lord Geidt is on the brink of resigning over claims the PM misled him

Jack Doyle, the Prime Minister's top spin doctor, is said to have made a 'thank you' speech to up to 50 people who attended the Downing Street bash on December 18 last year

According to reports, Lord Geidt left is close to resigning after he claimed that the PM had misled him. Jack Doyle (right), the prime minister’s spin doctor has been accused of giving a speech in ‘partygate’ to at least 50 people attending the Downing Street party on December 18, last year.

Mr Johnson's wife Carrie has just given birth to their second child (pictured together in June this year)

Carrie Johnson and Mr Johnson have just had their second child. (Photo taken together June 2012)

What happened in the  ‘Wallpapergate’ scandal?

Was it worth the effort?

Lulu Lytle was the interior designer who transformed the living room from what Carrie, the PM’s spouse felt to be a “John Lewis furniture nightmare” left behind by Theresa May. The new look included gold wallpaper costing £840 a roll.

It cost how much?

The designer was paid £112,549.12.

Which party paid it?

Initialy, the Cabinet Office paid the bill. But because it was significantly above the £30,000 annual public grant for work to the flat, officials set up a charitable trust for donations to cover the costs. 

The Tory party paid back the Cabinet Office. Lord Brownlow, the Tory trust chairman and donor at the time, and his company made a donation. They also gave money to the supplier. The designer was eventually paid by the Prime Minister.

Was this in violation of any laws?

According to the Electoral Commission, the Conservative Party failed to report most of Lord Brownlow’s money as a donation.

How about the role of the PM?

Lord Geidt, a sleaze watchdog cleared him of violating the ministerial codes. He claimed that he had no knowledge about complex financing arrangements prior to February. 

This is now in question, as evidence has been provided by the Electoral Commission that shows Mr Johnson contacted Lord Brownlow to request money last November.

Next, what’s the next step?

Kathryn Stone, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, may investigate the case against Mr Johnson for violating the Code of Conduct of MPs by failing to declare donors.

Dominic Cummings was present in Downing Street at the time that the redecoration work for No 11’s living rooms had begun. He has now joined the fray.

Twitter user sah he’d told PM “in very blunt and unrepeatable ways” in January and Summer 2020, that he wanted to send secret money for wallpaper. 

Cummings stated that he pursued the matter throughout the year, trying to keep me/others ignorant and lying to Geidt/CCHQ [Conservative Party headquarters]To cover it up.

“I have said it repeatedly over the months: a. PM has lied to Geidt; b. Geidt can only draw such a conclusion by not interviewing anyone actually associated with the flat!”

Sir Keir starmer, Labour leader took to Twitter too to criticize the PM. He called him unfit to lead. 

These new revelations further plunge the PM into crisis. This comes after the Government of Prime Minister David Cameron was shocked by the news that an “illegal” Christmas Party had been held in Downing Street last year, while the capital was under Tier 3 lockdown restrictions.

The Deputy Director for Communications at the time of the Prime Minister, Mr Doyle is reported to have given a “thank you” speech to approximately 50 guests who attended the party on December 18, last year.

ITV News stated that Doyle handed out paper certificates in a joke awards ceremony to his communication team.

This former journalist is responsible for overseeing the investigation into the claims. Number 10, however, denied it was a party. However, extraordinary video footage leaked from the mock press conference captured Downing Street staff laughing at the wine and cheese gathering. Allegra Straton was forced to resign.

Now, the Cabinet Office is investigating the controversial gathering and another area where Johnson may have spoken are the subjects of an internal inquiry. 

Johnson denied knowing that there was a party. However, Johnson’s apparent presence by an aide to him raises more questions. 

If he is found lying about his party, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives stated that he will have to quit. 

Tories that are lockdown-skeptics claim at most 60 Tory backbenchers could rebel next week in a vote on Johnson’s imposition Plan B measures to fight the Omicron variation.

The beleaguered PM was further harmed by two polls that showed how popular the Conservatives had fallen in recent days. One of the polls indicated how Labour has a 6-point advantage. 

The Mail reported in February that Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie was plotting to attack a Whitehall female official, who wouldn’t sign off large taxpayers bills for the refurbishment of her Downing Street flat.

The Mail reported that the secret plan was to have Tory donors pay Lulu Lytle’s decoration. The PM also privately claimed that he couldn’t afford the “gold wallpaper” Mrs Johnson had purchased. The scheme also included the establishment of a trust charitable for maintaining the Downing Street historic buildings. It was chaired by Lord Brownlow (Tory donor).

Simon Case (Cabinet Secretary) was alerted to the plots by this newspaper. After investigating, he passed his findings on to Lord Geidt who is a ministerial watchdog.

Lord Geidt cleared PM of breaking the ministerial code in May, saying only that he had “unwisely” allowed refurbishment at No. 11 Downing Street to continue without any more strict regard as to how this would get funded.

Johnson informed him, “that he did not know about such payments prior to the media reports in February 2021.”

A separate investigation of the Electoral Commission found evidence that the PM’mested Lord Brownlow via WhatsApp on November 29, 2020 asking him to authorize further, unspecified refurbishments on his residence.

The report provides the most detailed account yet of the complex web of payments, which it has now emerged totalled £112,549.12, involved in doing up the flat.

Initially, the Cabinet Office paid the bills. CCHQ then repaid the money. Lord Brownlow’s firm Huntswood Associates donated to the party for the cost. The bill was paid by Mr Johnson, who later in the year covered it himself.

The Electoral Commission found that the majority of the £67,801 given to the Tories by Lord Brownlow’s firm last October should have been reported as a donation, but was not.

This party was punished for failing to correctly report the entire donation value and violating the requirements to keep accurate accounting records.

Many invoices were also directly settled by Lord Brownlow’s company.  

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: ‘The Prime Minister must now explain why he lied to the British public saying he didn’t know who was behind No 11 flat refurb – all the while he was WhatsApping the donor asking for more money.

“He’s made a mockery not only of the law, but the standard we expect from our prime minsters.

Kathryn Stone, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has been asked to look into the matter.

Un spokesman from the office refused to comment.

A spokesperson from CCHQ said that the agency has been in constant contact and received advice from the Electoral Commission on the reporting of the transaction. We’re considering appealing. 

These revelations follow new polls that were conducted yesterday and showed how popular the Tories are in recent days, following the christmas party revelations.

According to a YouGov poll, Labour has now a lead of four points. This is the largest in eleven months. 

A YouGov poll carried out for The Times found that Labour now has a four-point lead, its biggest in 11 months

The Times conducted a YouGov survey to determine that Labour holds a 4 point lead. It is its largest advantage in over 11 months.

Over two-thirds of voters now question Mr Johnson’s honesty over his handling of the Downing Street scandal. As the PM, he has repeatedly stated that no party existed and that no rules had been broken.

Three weeks of Downing Street parties were planned 

It was announced last night that the Number 10 Christmas party, which had been scheduled for three weeks now, has finally come to fruition. 

The Times reports that invitations were sent via WhatsApp to participants at the beginning of November when all was locked down.

The Times reports that invitations went out towards the end November. People were invited to the Secret Santa event hosted by Number 10’s press office, where they could exchange gifts. In the invitation, it stated that there would be wine and food. 

They are expected to be part of the inquiry by Simon Case, Cabinet Secretary. His goal is to determine if it was an actual party that would have violated lockdown regulations.  

The PM may face dire consequences if enough Tory backbenchers revolt when Plan B measures, announced Wednesday night are up for vote next week.

According to reports, Tory MPs speculated that Sir Graham Brady (the leader of the powerful 1922 Committee) would receive more letters of confidence in the PM. 

At this point, however, it is unlikely that the PM would be forced to resign.

The Times was told by a minister that Johnson would remain his job by default, as no possible challenger to Johnson could unify critics. 

They claimed the PM made a series of errors and that Labour’s Sir Keir was useless.

YouGov also found that 34% of those surveyed believed there was a Christmas Party at which Covid-19 rules had been broken, and 68% thought Johnson was lying to them when he denies it.   

Another poll by Survation suggested that Labour may have a larger lead than expected, with six points.     

The previous investigation by Lord Geidt cleared Mr Johnson. Lord Brownlow had not informed the Prime Minister that he personally had paid the entire cost. 

Yesterday, Mr Cummings tweeted that Geidt had been ‘obviously misled’ by the PM. 

Yesterday, Downing Street claimed that Lord Brownlow knew that the PM was responsible for the blind trust that was used to finance the renovation of the flat. This was not true.

According to Mr Johnson’s press spokesperson, he did not inform reporters that the PM knew the details of the donor until February media reports. 

A separate investigation by the Electoral Commission uncovered evidence that on November 29, 2020, the PM 'messaged Lord Brownlow (pictured) via WhatsApp asking him to authorise further, at that stage unspecified, refurbishment works on the residence'

Separate evidence from the Electoral Commission found that, on November 29, 2019, the PM’mested Lord Brownlow via WhatsApp, asking him for authorization to continue, yet unspecified, renovations at the residence.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also took to Twitter to take aim at the PM and branded him 'unfit to lead'

Labour leader Sir Keir Sternmer took to Twitter too to attack the PM, branding him “unfit to lead”.

The PM was also put under fresh pressure by his former right-hand man Dominic Cummings, who was in Downing Street when the expensive redecoration works were being planned for the living quarters above No 11

Dominic Cummings his ex-right-hand man, was also putting pressure on him. Cummings was at Downing Street during the redecoration of No. 11’s living areas.

However, the Commission reported on Thursday that “the trust proposed at November’s time had not been established”. 

Boris’s story about his flat: A timeline

January 2020One month after the 2019 election, plans are submitted to renovate the No11 apartment.

February 2020 Officials decide to set up a blind trust to fund the six-figure  renovation. To prevent corruption, the system ensures that the beneficiaries are not informed about the origin of the funds.

Mai 2020Lord Brownlow accepts the invitation to chair and set up the trust.

June/July 2020: The Cabinet Office, which is responsible for the Downing Street estate, pays three invoices totalling £52,801.72 for work carried out, and then bills the Conservative Party.

August 2020It is paid by the Conservative Party. 

October 2020Lord Brownlow sends an email to the party asking how much it is. He says that he would make a donation in order to pay the bill. He does so.

November 29, 2020Boris Johnson calls Lord Brownlow via WhatsApp, ‘asking for his authorization to authorize further, unspecified refurbishment work’. Lord Brownlow agrees, explaining that the Downing Street Trust had not been established. 

December 18, 2020 Lord Brownlow donates a further £33,484.80 to the firm refurbishing the flat.

February 20, 2121 Lord Brownlow donates a further £13,295.30 to the firm refurbishing the flat, taking his total contribution to £112, 549.12

March 20, 2121 Daily Mail exposes the cost and method of financing the renovations. Boris Johnson pays the supplier directly and the firm reimburses Lord Brownlow.

April 2021 Ministerial Standards watchdog Lord Geidt clears the PM of wrongdoing. He says officials assured him that  Mr Johnson was not aware that Lord Brownlow paid for the work personally until it was revealed in the media. The PM confirmed the same to him directly.

December 2021 The Electoral Commission fines the Conservatives Party £17,800 for failing to declare Lord Brownlow’s original donation. He was notified that he had received WhatsApp messages from the PM about money.


It found that the Conservative Party failed to ‘fully report’ a donation of £67,801.72 from Brownlow made in October 2020, of which £52,801 which was connected to the refurbishment of the 11 Downing Street flat where Boris Johnson lives.

The probe found that when the payment was flagged by a junior member of Conservative staff, they were told the cash was for ‘something else’ and ‘don’t worry’. 

The PM also begged Lord Brownlow via Whatsapp for additional cash just weeks after receiving his first donation. 

It is likely that the results of this investigation will lead to another probe by Kathryn Stone, Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. 

In an investigation by the commission, it was found that the decisions made regarding recording and handling the donation were indicative of’serious failures in party’s compliance system’.

A fine of £17,800 was levied for ‘failing to accurately report a donation and keep a proper accounting record’.

Louise Edwards is the director of regulation for the Electoral Commission. She stated that “The party’s actions and decisions reflected serious failures in its compliance system.

“As an established and financially strong political party, with substantial amounts of money passing through its accounts and compliance experts to help it, the Conservative Party must have robust reporting systems that can meet all legal requirements.

The Daily Mail revealed details of the lavish redecoration of the apartment shared by the PM and his then fiancée in March.

Lulu Lytle, a high-end designer, reportedly incorporated gold wall coverings in the No11 renovation. 

However, the source of funding for the project was not listed in either the Commission’s list of political contributions or Mr Johnson’s Commons register. 

This led to Labour Party demands for an in-depth investigation of how extravagant work was paid and whether there were any violations. 

The Electoral Commission said that Huntswood Associates transferred £67,801.72 to the Conservative Party on October 19, 2020.

Some £15,000 of that amount was for an event, but the commission said he ‘specifically identified the remaining £52,801.72 as a donation to cover an earlier payment of that value made by the party to the Cabinet Office’.

Over summer 2020, the Cabinet Office paid three identical invoices for the renovation of Prime Minister’s apartment at 11 Downing Street. The payments were made under the condition that the amount would be reimbursed by the party.

The PM stated that everyone should work remotely again, and that masks could be extended to nightclubs.

But the commission said that in donation records submitted on January 27, 2021, while the party reported the £15,000 from Huntswood Associates, it failed to report the £52,801.72.

Boris, what did he know? 

The accounts of Boris’ knowledge and time appear to be different between his investigation by the Electoral Commission and Lord Geidt, his ministerial standards advisor.

Lord Geidt’s report noted:  ‘The Prime Minister … confirms that he knew nothing about such payments until immediately prior to media reports in February 2021. The Prime Minister immediately sought advice on his interest and paid the total amount to the bank directly on 8 March 2021. 

The Electoral Commission says that the following happened: ’29/11/2020: Lord Brownlow, the Prime Minister, contacted him via WhatsApp to ask for authorization of further refurbishment work on his residence. Lord Brownlow accepted and explained that although the trust was not set up yet, he had access to the funds.  

The commission also concluded that the reference in the party’s financial records to the payment of £52,801.72 made by the party for the refurbishment was not accurate as it was referred to as a ‘blind trust loan’.

The trust for the renovation of the flat was not established.

They are considering appealing against the fine imposed by the Electoral Commission for Boris Johnson’s donation to his flat renovation. 

Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat MP said it was still to be determined if Lord Geidt would feel able continue in his position. He also stated that anyone who assumes this role will need to ‘exhibit perhaps a higher degree of curiosity and maybe a little less trust’ than they have done so far.

Shetland MP said in the Commons that the Electoral Commission’s report on donations to refurbish Downing Street flats today stated that the Prime Minister had been WhatsApping Lord Brownlow in November 2020 asking for cash.

“But, it appears that the Prime Minister told Lord Geidt (an independent advisor) that he only became aware of the source of funding in February 2021.

“It remains to be determined if Lord Geidt can continue to act as an independent advisor in such circumstances.

“But anyone who does that job must do it with all assiduousness shall we say and maybe more curiosity and trust than is the case so far.”