British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced more allegations on Sunday over his spending on renovating his apartment and looking after children for his young son, which his foreign secretary called baseless gossip.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly weathered the crises over Brexit and revelations of his adultery, but the revelation that he and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, lavishly spent to redecorate their home with a designer celebrated by royalty touched a nerve .
One of the leaders of the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union, Johnson is grappling with a flood of allegations concerning both his spending and the management of his central team at the center of the UK government which, according to opponents, show that he is not fit to perform his duties.
Mr Johnson has denied paying for the renovation of his Downing Street apartment, but the Election Commission says it has reason to suspect that a breach was committed in funding the works.
the Sunday Times said the total cost of the work was around 200,000 pounds ($ 276,000) and that an invoice was paid directly by a Conservative Party donor – a benefit in kind that should be reported to tax authorities.
The newspaper also reported that a Conservative Party donor had been asked to pay a nanny for Mr Johnson’s son Wilfred.
“I don’t mind paying for flyers, but I don’t want to be asked to pay to literally wipe the butt of the Prime Minister’s baby,” said the unidentified donor.
The Conservative Party and Mr Johnson’s office declined to comment on the report.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab declined to answer directly who originally paid for the work and said he had ‘no idea’ whether a donor had been asked to pay for Mr Johnson’s childcare .
“The last issue you asked about was an example of headline chatter,” Raab told Sky TV. He said Johnson had been “crystal clear” about spending on renovating the apartment.
Ahead of Thursday’s local election across much of Britain, some opinion polls show Johnson’s ratings have fallen. His party is also facing a parliamentary by-election in Hartlepool, in northern England, which the opposition Labor Party has controlled for decades.
The outcry over the cost of renovating Downing Street is such that Johnson last week even expressed his “love” for John Lewis, a retailer adored by millions of British voters.