Boris Johnson is under fire for renovations to his apartment after a former aide to the British prime minister leveled accusations of “immoral and foolish” behavior. [e] Probably illegal “against his former boss.
The complaints come amid questions about who initially paid for the renovation of Johnson’s apartment – and brought public attention to his closest former ally, Dominic Cummings, and his fiancée Carrie Symonds.
Johnson, the outspoken leader whose initial treatment of the new coronavirus pandemic has divided the British, is no stranger to reactions across the political corridor.
But the latest episode marks the first time that Cummings – who left government last year, months after a scandal over his moves, undermined public confidence in the UK’s COVID-19 ban rules – has formally leveled Johnson’s government.
Where does Boris Johnson live?
Compared to the White House Executive Headquarters or the various presidential palaces dotted around the capitals of the world, the accommodations of the British Prime Minister in London are relatively modest.
Leaders traditionally lived in an apartment above Downing Street # 10But the new prime ministers have moved into the next larger apartment at Number 11 – above the Treasury Secretary’s offices.
However, the apartment is far from spacious. Buildings on Downing Street consist of narrow offices and hallways, and prime ministers do not enjoy the luxury of their official residences.
Prime Ministers receive £ 30,000 in public funds every year to renew an apartment during their tenure, and it is not uncommon for them or their wives to put their own branding into interior design.
In 2002, Tony Blair faced doubts about the cost of its redesign, which allegedly included the addition of a study. Photos released during David Cameron’s premiere showed a modern kitchen and open space, and in 2016, Theresa May gave an interview by the fireplace, although it is unclear if she has made major changes to the interior design.
Of course, British leaders aren’t confined to this tiny apartment all year round. The Checkers’ more spacious cottage is located in Buckinghamshire, just a short distance from London, and this destination is often used to entertain foreign leaders or provide the prime minister with an escape from Westminster.
Why are Johnson’s renewals so controversial?
Johnson has been under pressure for weeks to explain how he paid for the renovation of his apartment, which British media reported cost around £ 200,000.
These renewals were allegedly overseen by Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds. But his former adviser, Dominic Cummings, who stepped down after gaining a reputation as the driving force behind Brexit and the re-election of the prime minister, claimed in a blog post that Johnson planned to attract Conservative donors to pay for it. Update.
In this case, the loan must be declared to the Electoral Commission. Political donations and loans are subject to strict control in the United Kingdom, with loans over 7,500 pounds (56,000 Brazilian reals) recorded and issued to the public by the commission four times a year.
“I told him that I believed his plans to get donors to covertly pay for reform were unethical, foolish, and possibly illegal,” Cummings wrote in a bomb comment last Friday, “and almost certainly violated the rules regarding the correct disclosure of political donations” (23). ).
“I have refused to help you organize these payments. Therefore, my knowledge of them is limited,” the post continued.
In an interview with the BBC on Sunday (25), UK International Trade Minister Liz Truss said that the Prime Minister had personally paid for the reforms. But he did not say whether he had borrowed money from a donor.
A spokesman for Number 10 said to CNN That the government “presented historical expenditures transparently,” and that “any costs for a broader reform (…) shall be personally borne by the prime minister.”
The spokesman added that more information about the business will be revealed when the Cabinet publishes its annual accounts, which usually happens in July. However, the government has not published a separate register of ministerial interests since July of last year, despite the fact that the ministerial law requires it to be published “twice a year.”
These pending issues combined to unleash a political storm over the number 10, as opposition critics and parliamentarians raised calls for clarity on how to renovate the apartment.
What can happen now?
And the opposition Labor Party demanded that Cummings’ allegations be investigated by the Election Commission, claiming that the ministerial law governing the conduct of senior politicians may have been violated.
“The ministerial law clearly states that“ Ministers should be as open as possible to Parliament and the public. ”Labor MP Rachel Reeves said in a statement.
Reeves added that “a real and perceived conflict of interest should be avoided” and that “there must be a thorough investigation, given the gravity of the new charges” to Cummings.
Alleged violations of ministerial law are investigated by an independent advisor for ministerial interests or by the cabinet secretary, but the document is not legally binding. Downing Street denied breaking the law CNN That the ministers “acted according to an appropriate code of conduct.”
Meanwhile, the Election Commission confirmed to CNN It is still investigating whether any of the values involved in reform should be declared and that the Conservative Party is assisting with the investigations.
Why is Johnson accused of “contempt”?
The latest charges are only part of a series of allegations that have combined to raise questions about the Johnson government and its relationships with donors and lobbyists.
Last week, the prime minister was scrutinized through text messages by James Dyson, the billionaire founder of the vacuum cleaner company, in which he was said to have said he would “fix” a tax problem to ensure that Dyson produced fans during the first wave of Covid. -19 epidemic of the last year. The texts were obtained by the BBC.
Several British media outlets indicated that Cummings was the source of the leaks – something a former adviser denied in the same post that made accusations about Johnson’s apartment.
The Prime Minister rejected suggestions that there was something “negligible” in his texts with the businessman. “If you think there is something suspicious, bad, strange or despicable in trying to secure more fans in the moment of the pandemic and doing everything in your power, I think you’ve lost your mind,” he told reporters on Friday. According to PA Media.
The double sagas coincide with new allegations about Johnson’s previous comments on government. On Monday, Johnson was forced to deny accusations that he preferred to “leave the bodies piled in the thousands” over a third blockade against COVID-19 last year, after anonymous sources told the newspaper. daily Mail He made a comment.
Local elections across the country next month will be the first tangible test of how much of this series of allegations are affecting Britain’s electorate. Johnson is enjoying comfortable leadership in opinion polls after the rapid launch of the new coronavirus vaccine and a severe ban earlier this year, along with putting the UK’s Covid-19 under control.
(This text is translated. To read the original text in English, click here)