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?
Geidt is not fit to undertake a quasi-judicial role in respect of Johnson’s actions because his loyalty is to Johnson – and not to the British public
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) January 6, 2022
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:
Lord Geidt's letters are going to be published soon. Do you really expect the public to believe you didn't disclose key messages with Lord Brownlow, about the refurbishment of your flat, b/c you had a new phone?
Boris Johnson – I followed the ministerial guidance at all times 🤣 pic.twitter.com/aLygcsirQC
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) January 6, 2022
The affair has brought the Ministerial Code into disrepute, with some people asking…
What have you got to do to break the Ministerial Code?
— Deborah Meaden 💙 (@DeborahMeaden) January 7, 2022
… and others suggesting…
I reckon we should all be bound by the Ministerial Code. Then we could all do what the f**k we like when we like without any fear of even being told we are a bit naughty.
— Marcus Chown (@marcuschown) January 7, 2022
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:
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) January 6, 2022
Boris Johnson accused of corruption after ‘great exhibition’ text emerges https://t.co/7YqNGcgvd0
— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) January 7, 2022
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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