#Corruption row over #DowningStreetRefurbishment intensifies with #GreatExhibition revelation

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. Watch his face in the video clip of him being asked about his WhatsApp messages and you’ll see the same smirk.

Did Lord Brownlow pay for Boris Johnson’s flat to be redecorated, to ensure his plan for a “Great Exhibition v2.0” would have prime ministerial support?

Downing Street says no – because the plan is not being pursued. But Brownlow did discuss it in a meeting with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden a few weeks after his WhatsApp chat with Johnson about the flat and the exhibition in November 2020.

And Downing Street can’t define any material difference between “Great Exhibition v2.0” and a so-called “Festival UK” that apparently will happen this year.

Johnson faced investigation over the funding of his flat refurbishment last year because it gave rise to fears that he was caught in a conflict of interest, if he was aware of the identity of the person(s) paying for his expensive flat redecoration.

He was cleared by the ministerial standards watchdog he had employed, Lord Geidt, last May – but in December the Electoral Commission published information showing that Johnson had contacted Brownlow seeking extra funding in November 2020.

This prompted another investigation by Geidt, leading to the publication of the WhatsApp exchange in which the redecoration funding and the exhibition plan were linked.

Geidt then, unaccountably, cleared Johnson a second time – despite the apparent conflict of interest.

Was this because he’s Johnson’s employee, and not an independent advisor on ministerial interests?

Johnson, of course, claimed he has “followed ministerial guidance at all times” – but he couldn’t keep the smirk off his face while he was doing so:

The affair has brought the Ministerial Code into disrepute, with some people asking…

… and others suggesting…

One conclusion we can draw with certainty is that there will be no attempt by this Tory government to reform the Ministerial Code in order to prevent the corruption we see here; it helps them, so they won’t change it.

They’re probably hoping that, even though we see them now, we’ll forget what has happened by the time the next election rolls around. They really do hold us in that much contempt.

Here’s some background reading:

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