Angela Rayner calls on Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate Downing Street flat refurbishment
Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Angela Rayner, has today written to Kathryn Stone to ask her to investigate the Prime Minister’s failure to declare donations used to pay for the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.
This follows evidence submitted to the Electoral Commission’s investigation which contradicted the Prime Minister’s account of how the work was paid for. Boris Johnson claimed he did not know who was paying for the refurbishment – while he was messaging the donor asking for more money. Rayner writes: “Revelations in the Electoral Commission’s report call into question the conduct of the Prime Minister in relation to the Ministerial Code. It is clear that the Prime Minister misled the public, along with the independent adviser, when he told Lord Geidt during his investigation that he was unaware of the Lord Brownlow donations until February 2021.”
As well as breaking electoral law, the Prime Minister appears to have breached the Members’ Code of Conduct which incorporate the Nolan Principles of Standards in Public Life including accountability, openness and honesty.
Angela Rayner’s letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards:
Dear Kathryn Stone,
I write regarding today’s finding by the Electoral Commission that the Conservative Party broke the law by failing to properly declare donations towards the refurbishment of the Prime Minister’s flat in Downing Street.
In our previous correspondence, you confirmed that you would wait for the result of the Electoral Commission’s investigation before taking any further action. Given the Commission’s finding of a clear breach of the law, I write to request an immediate investigation into the conduct of the Prime Minister in this scandal.
Today’s report demonstrates that the Prime Minister has failed to declare donations which appears to put him in clear breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct as well as the Conservative Party having breached its own legal obligations.
I am concerned, although not entirely surprised, by the Prime Minister’s additional failure to properly disclose these donations towards the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat in his declaration of Ministerial interests.
Revelations in the Electoral Commission’s report call into question the conduct of the Prime Minister in relation to the Ministerial Code. It is clear that the Prime Minister misled the public, along with the independent adviser, when he told Lord Geidt during his investigation that he was unaware of the Lord Brownlow donations until February 2021. Today’s investigation report reveals that the Prime Minister messaged Lord Brownlow via WhatsApp on 29 November 2020, asking him to authorise more money towards the refurbishment works on the residence. This shows that the Prime Minister is in flagrant breach of both the Members’ Code of Conduct and the Ministerial Code.
The Ministerial Code clearly states: ‘Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public’. This has not happened.
The Members’ Code of Conduct incorporates the seven ‘Nolan Principles’ for standards of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. With these principles in mind, I hope you will undertake an investigation to determine whether the Prime Minister did in fact breach the Members’ Code of Conduct in this case.
Rt Hon Angela Rayner MP
Deputy Leader of HM Opposition
Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster