Dominic Raab dismisses claims PM asked donor to pay for nanny
Dominic Raab dismisses ‘tittle-tattle’ claims Boris Johnson asked Tory donor to pay for nanny and personal trainer – as Scottish Tory Leader says PM should resign if he has broken the ministerial code over Downing Street refurb
- The Foreign Secretary described the latest expenditure controversy as ‘gossip’ and said he had ‘no idea’ if a donor had been asked to pay for Johnson’s childcare
- It is claimed donors were asked to pay for a live in nanny and a personal trainer
- Downing Street did not deny yesterday that Tory donors had been approached
- It comes as Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said Mr Johnson should resign if the refurbishment investigation finds he has broken the ministerial code
The Foreign Secretary has dismissed claims Boris Johnson asked a Tory donor to pay for a nanny and personal trainer.
Dominic Raab described the latest claims as ‘gossip’ when appearing on Sky News this morning.
It comes as Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has said Boris Johnson should resign if he is found to have broken the ministerial code during the investigation into the renovations of his Downing Street flat.
On top of concerns over how the renovations were funded, Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced more allegations about his expenditure which included childcare for his young son.
The Sunday Times said the total cost of the refurbishment was around £200,000 and that one invoice was settled by a Conservative Party donor directly – a benefit-in-kind that would need to be declared to tax authorities.
The newspaper also reported that a Conservative Party donor had been asked to pay for a nanny for Johnson’s young son, Wilfred.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (pictured on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning) has dismissed the latest expenditure claims as ‘gossip’ and says he has ‘no idea’ if they are true
‘I don’t mind paying for leaflets but I resent being asked to pay to literally wipe the prime minister’s baby’s bottom,’ the unidentified donor was quoted as saying.
Johnson’s Downing Street office did not address the reported refurbishment costs, but said in a statement: ‘The Prime Minister has covered the costs of all childcare.’
The Conservative Party declined to comment on the report.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab declined to answer directly who initially paid for the work and said he had ‘no idea’ if a donor had been asked to pay for Johnson’s childcare.
‘The last issue you asked about is an example of tittle tattle,’ Raab told Sky’s Sophy Ridge.
He said Johnson had been ‘crystal clear’ about the expenditure on the refurbishment of the apartment.
When asked whether the Sunday Times’ report that the Prime Minister asked a Tory donor to pay for his childcare costs, Mr Raab told Ridge: ‘I have got no idea. You don’t think I have conversations like that with the Prime Minister.
‘I can’t comment on every little bit of gossip that is in the newspapers, Sophy.’
Pictured: Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office did not address the reported refurbishment costs, but said in a statement: ‘The Prime Minister has covered the costs of all childcare.’
The PM and Carrie Symonds, who is behind the costly refurbishment, face the prospect of handing over emails and phone messages as part of elections watchdog’s investigation
Pictured: Designer Lulu Lytle who is believed to be behind refurbishment of Downing Street
Mr Raab backed the Electoral Commission as some backbench Tories called for reform of the watchdog.
‘I trust it to look at these things in the right way,’ the Cabinet minister said.
The Foreign Secretary declined to say whether the Prime Minister should resign if he is found to have broken the law by the Electoral Commission.
‘I think the right thing for me to do is respect the integrity of those reviews and let them run their course rather than commenting on what may or may not be found at the end of it,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
Mr Raab declined to deny a claim that a second invoice for lavish renovations of the Prime Minister’s residence in No 11 may have been settled with the supplier by a Tory donor.
Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said Boris Johnson should resign if he is found to have broken the ministerial code.
Mr Ross said on Sunday that Mr Johnson should ‘of course’ quit if he is found to have breached the code as probes continue into whether he properly declared any donations for the lavish refurbishments.
The Prime Minister, however, remains the ‘ultimate arbitrator’ of the code and gets the final say on whether he broke the rules, a situation Labour says allows him to be his own ‘judge and jury’ as the opposition calls for reform.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross (pictured) says Boris Johnson should resign if he is found to have broken the ministerial code during the renovation of his Downing Street flat
He was asked on the Andrew Marr show if Mr Johnson should quit if found to be in breach of the ministerial code, with Mr Ross having previously called for the resignation of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon if she had broken the rules.
‘Of course, I think people expect the highest standards of those in the highest office of the land, that’s why I think people are looking at the investigations that are currently ongoing and waiting for the answers,’ Mr Ross said.
The Electoral Commission this week launched an investigation into whether any donations or loans to pay for the refurbishment of his residence in No 11 were properly declared.
But new standards adviser Lord Geidt has also been tasked with reviewing the controversy, in an investigation expected to touch on whether he has breached the ministerial code.
As well as pressure over the renovations, Mr Johnson has been forced to deny saying he would rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than impose a third coronavirus lockdown, on top of a lobbying row and allegations of cronyism.
Although earlier polls suggested the ‘sleaze’ allegations were not significantly denting public support for the Tories, two fresh surveys gave evidence to the contrary ahead of the local elections in England and votes for the parliaments in Scotland and Wales.
The Conservatives fell to a five-point lead over Labour, with 42 per cent compared to 37 per cent, according to the Opinium poll of more than 2,000 adults between Wednesday and Friday.
That put the Tories down two points and Labour up four compared to a week earlier, halving the Conservatives’ lead ahead of the elections, in which some 48 million people are eligible to vote.
And in separate polling, Focaldata put Labour on 39 per cent, one point behind the Tories, who previously had a healthy lead, according to The Sunday Times.
Mr Johnson has denied breaking any laws over the refurbishment of his residence and insisted he had paid ‘personally’ for the works.
But he has refused to say whether he received an initial loan from the Conservative Party, as Downing Street launched two separate reviews into the controversy.
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