U.K.’s Johnson Criticized in Official Report on Flat Upgrade
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was criticized in an official report over the refurbishment of his Downing Street residence, saying he acted “unwisely” by allowing the work to go ahead without paying more attention to how it was being paid for.
Johnson was “ill-served” by his advisers over the project but did not break the ministerial code, Christopher Geidt, the official in charge of ethics, said in a report published Friday.
The upgrade to the Downing Street flat triggered intense scrutiny of Johnson, amid claims he didn’t properly declare who funded the work and questions over whether the benefactor may have paid for the refurbishment to garner favor. Part of the cost was paid by David Brownlow, a Conservative Party donor, according to the report.
Johnson’s office said the full amount -- above the official 30,000 pounds ($42,500) annual allowance -- was later covered by the prime minister.
Friday’s report “shows the prime minister acted in accordance with the ministerial code at all times,” Johnson’s office said in a statement. “Other than works funded through the annual allowance, the costs of the wider refurbishment of the flat are not being financed by taxpayers and have been settled by the prime minister personally.”
Geidt’s report also said that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had committed a “minor breach” of the ministerial code by failing to declare a shareholding in a company when it received a contract from the National Health Service. That was “in no way deliberate,” the report concluded.
In a letter to Hancock, Johnson said no further action would be taken.
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