Boris Johnson flat renovation: how much did refurbishment to Downing Street flat cost - and who paid for it?

It is alleged that a political donation which has not yet been registered was put toward the cost of the refurbishment

Questions continue to mount over the source of funds used to carry out an expensive home-makeover on the flat above Number 11 Downing Street.

Boris Johnson and his fiance Carrie Symonds live in the four-bedroom apartment, which has recently undergone renovations thought to be worth up to £200,000.

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The government maintains that the refurb was paid for by the prime minister himself, though a leaked email suggests at least some of the money came from Tory donors.

Boris Johnson: how did PM pay for renovations to Downing Street flat - and what did Dominic Cummings say? (Photos by Rui Vieira - WPA Pool/Getty Images/Hollie Adams/Getty Images/TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Asked about the flat while out campaigning in Wales, Johnson said: ““If there’s anything to be said about that, any declaration to be made, that will, of course, be made in due course.”

Where have the renovations been carried out?

Boris Johnson is the latest prime minister to choose the flat above Number 11 Downing Street, intended for the chancellor, as his residence.

The Number 11 residence is larger than the one above Number 10, with four-bedrooms.

Both Tony Blair and David Cameron carried out renovations on the property while they were prime minister, using the £30,000 grant afforded to prime ministers for this purpose, plus their own money.

But reports suggest that the works commissioned by Johnson and his fiance have been significantly more expensive, with estimates of up to £200,000.

Chic designer Lulu Lytle was reportedly involved in the refurbishment works,

How have the renovations been funded?

Downing Street has not issued a comment on the full cost of the renovations, although ministers have stressed that Johnson covered the costs himself.

International Trade secretary Liz Truss told the BBC that Johnson had paid for the renovations “from his own pocket”.

However, questioned on whether the money to cover the refurbishments was originally provided by a Conservative donor, Truss declined to answer.

Earlier this year the Daily Mail reported that a Conservative donor had provided the party with £58,000 to cover renovation costs.

A leaked email from Tory peer Lord Brownlow discussed the donation, which he said would be made “on behalf of the soon to be formed 'Downing Street Trust' - of which I have been made chairman”.

It is thought that Johnson has been planning on creating a charitable trust intended to maintain Downing Street, which would receive donations from Conservative donors.

It has also been reported that, when asked about the renovations by aides, Johnson said he wouldn’t be able to afford the cost himself.

What did Dominic Cummings say?

Allegations that the refurbishments have been funded through undeclared political donations have been reported for months.

But the funding for these renovations is once again coming under scrutiny after a blog post by Dominic Cummings, the PM’s former adviser.

In a blog-post, he said that Johnson’s director of communications, Jack Doyle, had accused him of leaking details about the Downing Street renovations.

Denying this, Cummings said he was aware of the plans, and advised Johnson against them.

He wrote: “The PM stopped speaking to me about this matter in 2020 as I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended.

“I refused to help him organise these payments. My knowledge about them is therefore limited. I would be happy to tell the Cabinet Secretary or Electoral Commission what I know concerning this matter.

Responding to these claims, A No 10 spokesperson said: "At all times, the government and ministers have acted in accordance with the appropriate codes of conduct and electoral law."

The Electoral Commission confirmed that it is in discussion with the Conservative party about the matter, although an investigation has not yet been launched.

Labour calls for full investigation

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves MP, wrote to the prime minister calling for a full investigation.

She wrote: “The Ministerial Code clearly states ‘Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public’. This has not happened.

“Given we know it only takes a text message from a friend to get the full attention at the top of your government, many people will wonder what personal goodwill could be generated by a secret donation to the redecoration of your living quarters.

“Any external financial aid to a Prime Minister’s lifestyle must of course be fully declared at the time and as the Ministerial Code makes clear, real and perceived conflicts of interest must be avoided.

“I believe there needs to be a full investigation given the gravity of the new accusations from your former Chief Adviser and the serious implications of other irregularities of this concerning episode.”