Thursday 3 June 2021 / 10:30 PM Angela Rayner / Cronyism

Labour calls for investigation into Boris Johnson breaking parliamentary rules over secret flat payments

Labour has today called on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate the Prime Minister for breaking parliamentary rules by failing to declare the donation he received to pay for the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.

Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Angela Rayner has written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone alleging that the Prime Minister has clearly breached the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament that states that all Members of Parliament must register financial interests, donations and gifts in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

Rayner accuses the Prime Minister of contradicting his own excuse of “playing ignorant” and being unaware of the payments being made, given he claims to have settled the bills and subsequently repaid the costs himself: “The Prime Minister clearly did know about the donation being made in the first place, so why did he not declare it?”

Referring to the conflict of interest created by the Prime Minister receiving this donation, Rayner’s letter says “anybody who has ever borrowed money or had a favour done for them” would understand the “basic fact” that the “Prime Minister – or anybody – becoming indebted by a sum of tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds would, or could at least be perceived, to have an obligation to the individual or institution doing them a financial favour that benefits them.”

In addition to the requirement for MPs to register financial interests, donations and gifts, Rayner also highlights rules about donations received “indirectly via a central party organisation” if there was a link between the donation and the MP in question or there “was a wish that it be allocated to him or her”, saying that “it is surely beyond any argument that the support provided by the Conservative Party and Lord Brownlow was directly linked to the Prime Minister personally and in relation to the office he holds, and was given with a wish that it be allocated to him, so whether it was intended as a donation or loan, was therefore registrable under the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Rayner also accuses the Prime Minister of breaching all seven of the General Principles of Conduct which Members of Parliament are expected to observe and which are taken into account when investigating and determining breaches of the rules – selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has already reprimanded the Prime Minister on two previous occasions for breaking parliamentary rules in relation to declaring financial interests.