Boris Johnson has criticised questions over the lavish refurbishment of Downing Street and claimed there is “nothing to see here” as questions grow over who initially paid for the work.
The Prime Minister vowed to comply with the Electoral Commission investigation but called the questions around the saga a “farrago of nonsense”.
The probe will seek to establish who initially paid for the work and whether any donation was properly declared amid suggestions he was given a loan from the Conservative Party.
Investigators can demand documents and information from Mr Johnson and Carrie Symonds - including personal emails and phone messages.
They could also potentially interview witnesses under caution - including the Prime Minister.
However, Mr Johnson said that “I don’t think there’s anything to see here” despite the watchdog saying there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect an offence as it launched a formal inquiry.
‘I love John Lewis’
During a visit to a London school, Mr Johnson told broadcasters: “We will comply with whatever they want, and I don’t think there is anything to see here, or worry about.”
The upmarket overhaul of his No 11 residence was inspired by a desire to get rid of the “John Lewis furniture nightmare”, as reported by the Tatler magazine covering high society.
But Mr Johnson said: “The one thing I object to in this whole farrago of nonsense is I love John Lewis.”
He also insisted that newly-appointed ministerial standards adviser Lord Geidt will do an “outstanding job” in his separate review into whether any donations were properly declared.
PM ‘effectively marking his own homework’
Labour criticised the arrangement because the Prime Minister remains the “ultimate arbiter” of the code, meaning Mr Johnson “effectively marks his own homework”.
Mr Johnson argued, in a letter to chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life Lord Evans, that he “cannot and would not wish” to give up the power.
“That vital responsibility is quite properly mine alone and, as an elected politician, one for which I am ultimately accountable to the electorate,” he said.
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