Flat saga: James O'Brien's utter disbelief that PM 'forgot' about WhatsApp messages

7 January 2022, 14:21 | Updated: 7 January 2022, 14:35

By Tim Dodd

James O'Brien asked if there is "any way on Earth" that someone could believe that Boris Johnson forgot to provide WhatsApp messages asking to fund his Downing St flat refurbishment to the man who was investigating it.

It comes as Boris Johnson has apologised for failing to provide messages between himself and a Tory peer over the Downing Street flat refurbishment. 

Newly-disclosed messages, which were sent in November 2020, reveal the PM told David Brownlow that his residence was a "bit of a tip" and he was "keen" to get a luxury interior designer to "get on with it".

The works to No.11 ran higher than £112,500.

Mr Johnson has now apologised to Lord Geidt, the ministerial standards adviser who investigated the refurbishment, for failing to provide the exchange during his inquiries.

Lord Geidt found out about the messages from an Electoral Commission report, which fined the Conservatives for not following the law about donations last month.

Read more: Conservative Party hit with £17,800 fine over PM flat refurb

James asked: "How stupid do you have to be, really?"

"How deferential do you have to be to buy this story?... the almost unbelievable defence that Boris Johnson has offered up for not telling Lord Geidt that he had contacted Lord Brownlow.

"The reason the WhatsApp messages were not revealed was because he changed his phone, and he'd forgotten - this is what the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is asking you to believe.

"Is there any way on Earth that you could believe Boris Johnson today?"

Read more: Second group of Insulate Britain activists could face jail for disruptive M25 protests

James continued: "What did he think? What happened? Was it delivered by stork, this chunk of change? Did it arrive unprompted through his letterbox? Did he think that Carrie [Johnson] bought a scratchcard? Where did he think the money had come from!?

"And remember, it's money he sees the fruits of every single time he has his eyes open in his own home. It's not money that's being spent on, I don't know, free school meals for the poorest children in the country, which you could forgive him for having forgotten about.

"It's not money that's been spent on a nuclear submarine moored somewhere off the coast of Scotland."

Read more: Woman who 'nudged' Insulate Britain protester with 4X4 charged with assault

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