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Elections watchdog quizzes Conservatives over revamp of PM's Downing Street flat
20 March 2021, 00:01 | Updated: 20 March 2021, 07:59
The Electoral Commission has contacted the Conservative Party over a reported payment made towards renovating Boris Johnson's Downing Street flat, it has been disclosed.
Britain's official elections watchdog said it had approached the Tories to establish whether any of the money spent on the refurbishment should have been declared under the law on party political donations.
The Conservatives responded by saying that all reportable donations were correctly declared in compliance with the law.
It comes after the Daily Mail reported that around £60,000 of party funds were spent on helping to cover the reported £200,000 cost of the renovation of the flat above 11 Downing Street, where the prime minister lives with his fiancée Carrie Symonds.
In a statement, a commission spokeswoman said: "We are in contact with the party to establish whether any sums relating to the renovation works fall within the regime regulated by the commission.
"If so, they would need to be reported according to the rules specified in law, and would then be published by the commission as part of our commitment to the transparency of political finance."
Sources for the Tories said that, like all political parties, they had regular discussions with the elections watchdog.
A party spokesman said: "All reportable donations to the Conservative Party are correctly declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them and comply fully with the law.
"Gifts and benefits received in a ministerial capacity are, and will continue to be, declared in government transparency returns."
Earlier in March, Mr Johnson's press secretary Allegra Stratton told reporters that Conservative Party funds were "not being used to pay for any refurbishment of the Downing Street estate".
Elsewhere, No 10's new White House-style media briefing room came under fire this week after having more than £2.6 million spent on its renovation.