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28th May 2021

Boris Johnson did not break ministerial code over refurb, rules ethics adviser

Danny Jones

Boris Johnson acted "unwisely" but did not break ministerial code

An ethics adviser said he acted ‘unwisely’ but did not break ministerial code

Christopher Geidt, the independent adviser assigned to investigate Boris Johnson‘s refurbishing of his flat has ruled that although he acted “unwisely” and was responsible for a “significant failing” while securing the funds for the renovation, there was no standout evidence to suggest that he breached ministerial code while doing so. Right…

Geidt released the findings from the inquiry into the five-figure revamp of the PM’s No. 11 Downing Street flat, in addition to an examination other ministerial interests. The report itself was supposed to be released in December of 2020. Timely as ever.

Johnson is thought to have secured investment not only from the Conservative party but from one benefactor, in particular, Lord David Brownlow – a former vice-chair of the Tories. Geidt said that he was “content” with these findings and “that no conflict (or reasonably perceived conflict) arises as a result of these interests.”

Lord Brownlow’s donation was not deemed to accompany any additional obligation and the inquiry found that there was “no evidence” to suggest he “acted with anything other than altruistic and philanthropic motives”. Chumocracy strikes again.

Furthermore, it was judged that Johnson was apparently unaware of Brownlow’s generosity, with the report stating that he was not “aware either of the existence of these invoices or how they were settled”.

However, Geidt did say that the plans for a trust to finance the PM’s share of maintenance and refurbishment were “not subjected to a scheme of rigorous project management by officials” and to that extent, he considers a level of ministerial failure, insisting that the PM was happy for the apartment to be refurbished regardless of “how this would be funded.”

Prime ministers typically have access to up £30,000 worth of taxpayer money to remodel their homes, however, it was thought Boris Johnson tried to upgrade this system when he took office in 2019. As such, his revamp was significantly more expensive and is now expected to pay £60,000 for the work.

Best get that Shakespeare book sorted, Boris, lad.