Boris sleaze claims: list of allegations against PM and Tory party - from ‘bodies’ comment to Downing Street flat
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Boris Johnson is at the centre of a growing stream of Tory “sleaze” allegations.
Chaos continues to unfold behind the polished black door of No 10 as damaging leaks and revelations rain down on the PM’s government - and all during the fallout of the Greensill Capital lobbying row.
Claims of impropriety, special treatment and even possible illegality are being thrown at Downing Street amid Mr Johnson’s bitter - and public - fallout with his former aide Dominic Cummings.
A series of explosive leaks this week have accused the PM of trying to avoid another Covid lockdown, donors paying for the Downing Street flat’s refurbishment and promising to “fix” tax issues for businesses.
So, what are all the Tory sleaze claims?
NationalWorld takes a look.
What are the Tory sleaze claims?
‘Bodies piled high in their thousands’
The latest claim against Boris Johnson - and perhaps the most incendiary - is that he said he would “rather see bodies piled high in their thousands” than impose another Covid lockdown.
First reported in the Daily Mail on Monday, the PM allegedly said “no more f****** lockdowns - let the bodies pile high in their thousands” after he agreed to order a second England-wide shut down in November last year.
While not strictly an allegation of sleaze, the claims - for obvious reasons - have the potential to be very damaging.
Tory sources have since lent weight to the allegations, with an ITV report suggesting the remark was shouted from a Downing Street office following a meeting with ministers and senior officials.
And another source told the Guardian that, while they did not hear the comments directly, there had been “chatter” about them in Downing Street last year.
The BBC also said it had confirmed the remarks with insiders - but that they were made “during a heated discussion in No 10”.
Mr Johnson was forced to deny the claims on-camera, calling the remarks “total rubbish”.
He said on Monday (26 April): “What I certainly think is that this country has done an amazing job with the lockdowns. And they’ve been very difficult. And they’ve been very tough for people. And there’s no question about that.”
Cabinet minister Michael Gove has also insisted he “never heard” the alleged comments and defended the PM.
Mr Gove told the Commons: “The idea that he would say any such thing I find incredible. I was in that room, I never heard language of that kind.”
‘Possibly illegal’ plans for Downing Street flat refurb
Mr Johnson has also had Mr Cummings coming back to haunt him, with his former closest adviser claiming that the PM intended to have Tory donors “secretly pay” for the refurbishment of the official Downing Street flat.
In his first blog post since leaving No 10 at the end of last year, Mr Cummings described the handling of payments for the redecoration as "unethical, foolish and possibly illegal - and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended".
The PM and his fiancee Carrie Symonds are understood to have employed eco interior designer Lulu Lytle to head the refurb of the flat.
The government denied the claims and said the "costs of wider refurbishment in this year have been met by the prime minister personally" - but Labour has called on the PM to fully disclose where the money originally came from.
A leaked email in the Daily Mail suggested that the Tories had used £58,000 of donated party funds for the redecoration, yet no such donation had been declared to the Electoral Commission.
Every prime minister receives an annual allowance of up to £30,000 a year of taxpayers’ money to go towards "the costs associated with maintaining and furnishing of the residency within the Downing Street estate".
‘Chatty rat’ inquiry
In his series of explosive claims against Mr Johnson, Mr Cummings also alleged that the PM suggested stopping a Downing Street leak inquiry as it could have implicated a friend of his fiancee’s.
The PM’s once most-trusted ally claimed, in his 1,000-word blog post, that Mr Johnson had proposed an investigation - nicknamed the search for the “chatty rat” - into who leaked details of plans for November’s nationwide English lockdown to newspapers could be halted.
Mr Cummings said this was after Mr Johnson had found out that government adviser Henry Newman, who is said to be a close personal friend of Ms Symonds, might be involved.
The inquiry was launched last October and is still ongoing, after Downing Street appeared caught by surprise when the news on the restrictions was revealed and Mr Johnson was forced to announce the November lockdown earlier than planned.
But a No 10 spokesperson said: "The prime minister has never interfered in a government leak inquiry."
PM’s ‘promise’ to Sir James Dyson
The drama surrounding Mr Johnson all began following the leak of text messages between the PM and billionaire businessman Sir James Dyson.
The messages, seen by the BBC, showed that Mr Johnson had promised to “fix” an issue regarding the tax status of Dyson employees so they could come to the UK to work on supplying ventilators at the start of the pandemic.
Following the public airing of the exchanges, the PM said he would make "absolutely no apology at all" for "shifting heaven and earth" to help to secure ventilators during the crisis.
But Sir Keir Starmer said the correspondence had demonstrated “sleaze” and “cronyism” within the current Conservative government.
An investigation into how the messages were leaked has been launched by No 10, but Downing Street “sources” were quoted in newspapers as pointing the finger at Mr Cummings for leaking Mr Johnson’s private texts.
The ex-aide has subsequently denied the “false accusations” and said he would allow officials to search his phone.