Did Allegra Stratton mislead the Press pack over refurb? Labour demand inquiry

Did Allegra Stratton mislead the Press pack over refurb? Labour demand inquiry into whether PM’s press secretary ‘knowingly misled’ journalists

  • Former journalist was Mr Johnson’s press secretary from October until last week 
  • Labour’s demand came after No 10 spokesman declined to deny PM’s loan 
  • That claim appears to run contrary to what Miss Stratton said last month 

Labour last night demanded an inquiry into whether the Prime Minister’s press secretary ‘knowingly misled’ journalists over the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s flat.

Party deputy leader Angela Rayner said Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – the country’s most senior civil servant – should look at Allegra Stratton’s answers to reporters about the affair last month.

The former journalist was Mr Johnson’s press secretary from October until last week, when the televised briefings she was to host were cancelled.

Labour’s demand came after a No 10 spokesman yesterday declined to deny suggestions that the Prime Minister received a loan from the Conservative Party to cover the initial costs of the refurbishment, before repaying the party.

Party deputy leader Angela Rayner said Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – the country’s most senior civil servant – should look at Allegra Stratton’s (pictured) answers to reporters about the affair last month

That claim appears to run contrary to what Miss Stratton said last month.

At a briefing for journalists, she repeatedly said: ‘Conservative Party funds are not being used to pay for any refurbishment of the Downing Street estate.’

The PM is facing continued questions about how the works were paid for, after former aide Dominic Cummings said Mr Johnson wanted donors to ‘secretly pay’ for the work in an ‘unethical, foolish, possibly illegal’ move.

The Tories declined to deny a suggestion that Conservative HQ paid the Cabinet Office to cover initial costs of the refurbishments, with Mr Johnson now repaying the party.

The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘Any costs of the wider refurbishment in No 10 have been met by the Prime Minister and he has acted in accordance with the appropriate codes of conduct and electoral law.’ 

The PM is facing continued questions about how the works were paid for, after former aide Dominic Cummings said Mr Johnson wanted donors to 'secretly pay' for the work in an 'unethical, foolish, possibly illegal' move

The PM is facing continued questions about how the works were paid for, after former aide Dominic Cummings said Mr Johnson wanted donors to ‘secretly pay’ for the work in an ‘unethical, foolish, possibly illegal’ move

When he was pressed on Miss Stratton’s denial at a Westminster briefing with journalists on March 8, he said: ‘I’ve seen the reports and the speculation on that – I’m not going to jump ahead of any potential declarations that need to be made.’

Mr Case, the head of the Civil Service, has been tasked with reviewing the refurbishment of the flat in No 11. Miss Stratton, who moved roles this month after No 10 scrapped plans to hold televised press briefings, is yet to respond to requests for comment.

Downing Street was moved to issue a further defence of Mr Johnson later in the day, but it also stopped short of ruling out a loan from the party’s HQ.

‘Any costs of wider refurbishment this year beyond those provided for by the annual allowance have been met by the Prime Minister personally,’ a spokesman said. ‘Conservative Party funds are not being used for this.’

The PM's official spokesman said: 'Any costs of the wider refurbishment in No 10 have been met by the Prime Minister and he has acted in accordance with the appropriate codes of conduct and electoral law'

The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘Any costs of the wider refurbishment in No 10 have been met by the Prime Minister and he has acted in accordance with the appropriate codes of conduct and electoral law’

Labour health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth called for a ‘full and frank’ explanation from the Prime Minister.

‘We really need to know who’s given the loan, who’s given the money, because we need to know who the Prime Minister, who Boris Johnson, is beholden to,’ he told BBC Breakfast. ‘To be honest, he lied yesterday – that’s not good enough.’

An update of the separate register of MPs’ financial interests on Tuesday showed no sign of a loan to Mr Johnson, with his only addition a £2,397 payment for book royalties.

Prime ministers get a budget of up to £30,000 a year to renovate their Downing Street residency, but reports suggest Mr Johnson has spent much more.

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