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PM defends Ukraine aid in cost of living crisis as he's grilled over '£150k treehouse'

1 July 2022, 08:17 | Updated: 1 July 2022, 17:09

By Megan Hinton

Boris Johnson has defended sending a further £1bn to Ukraine as hard-pressed Brits struggle during the cost of living crisis.

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In an exclusive interview with Nick Ferrari at the Nato summit in Madrid, the PM was asked: “To those who say you care a lot about the people of Kiev but not Keithley, how would you respond?”

Mr Johnson said: "So what we're doing straight away, what we're doing is helping them, just in a week or so, you’ve got £1,200 are going to the eight million most vulnerable households in the country.

"The total package there is about £37 billion that we're putting in to help people around the country, just with things like the costs of energy.

"Everybody is going to get £400 to help them with the cost of energy, pensions another £300, cuts in council tax. In a few weeks, a couple of weeks, you'll be getting the National Insurance tax cut that will take…”

Mr Johnson refused to answer questions over claims he planned to build a £150,000 tree house in the grounds of his Chequers country residence.

A report in the Times said Mr Johnson and wife Carrie had wanted to build the treehouse at the grace and favour retreat in autumn 2020 for their son Wilf.

Sources said Tory party donor Lord Brownlow was considered to draw up the project, which was said to have been dismissed because of the security risk of the structure being visible from the road, despite the design featuring bulletproof glass.

When talking about the cost-of-living crisis, Nick asked: "I’ve read that you wanted a £150,000 treehouse for your children, is that digging deep?"

Read more: Boris: Sadiq Khan needs to 'grip' Met Police problems in same way I slashed crime figures

"Well look I am not going to comment on my children or anything," Mr Johnson replied.

Nick quipped: "Well it's not your children is it, it’s a treehouse?"

To which the Prime Minister insisted: "I am not going to comment on things in my family life."

Reports said the PM wanted to build at £150k tree house at Chequers
Reports said the PM wanted to build at £150k tree house at Chequers. Picture: Alamy

Pressed further on the matter, Nick asked: "So it's not true? So that’s a fabrication as well?"

Mr Johnson began to reel off infrastructure that was being built by the government including gigabit broadband.

A Government spokesperson said: "We do not comment on private or family matters which do not involve any ministerial declarations or taxpayer funds."

Read more: Putin's made more than 30 nuke threats during Ukraine invasion, Boris tells LBC

Boris Johnson spoke to LBC's Nick Ferrari
Boris Johnson spoke to LBC's Nick Ferrari. Picture: LBC

When asked whether or not there will be another tax cut in fuel duty, he replied: "Look I am not going to comment on further measures the chancellor may implement."

But later Mr Johnson said "it's a possibility" and refused to rule the suggestion out.

Vladimir Putin has made more than 30 chilling nuclear threats since his military invaded Ukraine, the PM also revealed in the wide-ranging interview.

He said an agreement to end the war is possible even with Putin in power, despite the Russian autocrat making more than 30 threats over nuclear deployments.

He added that the Russian president can negotiate a peace and be allowed to claim he needed to invade as long as he withdraws his troops, and does not need to give up power at the end of the war.

On the topic of the troubles plaguing the Met police, Mr Johnson said Sadiq Khan needs to get a “grip” on the situation in the capital.

Johnson, who was mayor of London before Sadiq Khan between 2008 and 2016, said he did not like "endlessly dumping" on his successor.

But he told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "City Hall has got to grip this thing. In the end, the Mayor of London, one of his jobs, one of his titles is he's the commissioner of the police in London.

"And he should grip it, he has the responsibility. He hires the police chief."

He said the next thing the Met needs to do is hire a capable boss to succeed Cressida Dick, who quit after saying she had lost Mr Khan's confidence.