'They don't even have a salad bowl': Rachel Johnson dismisses 'BS' claims on No10 refurb

10 July 2022, 20:07 | Updated: 12 July 2022, 10:22

'Boris and Carrie don't even have a salad bowl!'

By Megan Hinton

Rachel Johnson has dismissed "BS" claims that Boris and Carrie Johnson had refurbished Number 10 with "£800 pound rolls of wallpaper".

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Speaking on her LBC show, the Prime Minister's sister hit out at "bonkers" reports claiming there had been a "sumptuous re-decoration" in the Downing Street flat.

After reflecting on her brother's resignation as leader of the Conservative Party, Rachel said: "Maybe I should just say one more thing about the Downing St flat.

"I mean the absolute BS I have read about this flat... the £800 pound rolls of wallpaper that I have never seen.

"The sumptuous re-decoration that hasn't taken place.

"I have been in that flat and I can promise you it is not five star sumptuous.

"In fact Boris and Carrie don't even have a salad bowl.

"The whole thing has been cooked up and I do not understand it.

"I can't even begin to understand it and we don't even talk about it, it's all so bonkers."

Noting her brother's childhood ambition to be "world king", she commented: "I haven't deliberately been listening to much of the vindictiveness, the dancing on the grave, the spitting on the grave and I'm not listening to those who have made a good listening out of Boris bashing.

"Let me tell you a story as Rishi's slick promotional video started, let's say the rise and fall of Boris in a way that a small child might understand."Once upon a time there was a little boy who dreamt of becoming world king, he first said that when he was two, and actually almost achieved his ambition."

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Rachel's comments come after a leaked copy of the invoice suggested the controversial refurbishment of the official Downing Street flat cost more than £200,000.

Rachel Johnson has dismissed 'BS' reports about the Downing Street flat refurbishment
Rachel Johnson has dismissed 'BS' reports about the Downing Street flat refurbishment. Picture: Alamy
Boris and Carrie
Boris and Carrie. Picture: Alamy

Items ordered by Boris and Carrie Johnson for their No 11 apartment from interior designer Lulu Lytle's upmarket Soane Britain firm included a £7,000 rug and 10 rolls of wallpaper costing £225 each, the document, obtained by The Independent, indicates.

The bill also listed a £3,675 drinks trolley, two sofas worth more than £15,000, and dining chairs costing £11,200, with the cheapest item - a kitchen table cloth - priced at £500.

The flat revamp was one in a series of scandals surrounding Mr Johnson's leadership which ultimately led to his party turning against him and forcing his dramatic resignation on Thursday.

In May 2021, Mr Johnson asked his then-adviser on ministerial interests, Lord Geidt, to investigate claims that he had secretly asked Tory donors to foot the bill for the redecoration, which far exceeded the £30,000 annual public grant afforded to the Prime Minister to spend on his living quarters.

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Lord Geidt cleared Mr Johnson of breaching the Ministerial Code, and said that, when Mr Johnson learned the bill had been settled by the Conservative Party - including with a donation from Tory donor Lord Brownlow - he reimbursed them out of his own pocket.

Rachel Johnson speaks emotionally about her brother

However, a further investigation by the Electoral Commission resulted in the party being fined £17,800 for failing to properly declare a £67,000 donation from a firm controlled by Lord Brownlow.

It also revealed that Mr Johnson had exchanged WhatsApp messages with Lord Brownlow about the revamp in November 2020 which had not been disclosed to Lord Geidt.

This raised questions about what Mr Johnson knew about the source of the donations, and whether Lord Brownlow was able to get access to ministers in return for helping to bankroll the work.

Mr Johnson was at the time reported to have complained that the cost was "totally out of control" and that his then-fiancee Carrie Symonds was "buying gold wallpaper".

Ms Symonds, as she was then, reportedly saw the overhaul as necessary to rid the Prime Minister's residence of the "John Lewis nightmare" left behind by former occupant Theresa May.