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More woes for Boris? Now police consider investigating £100k Downing St flat refurb
10 February 2022, 06:08 | Updated: 10 February 2022, 06:11
Police are weighing up investigating the expensive refurbishment of Boris Johnson's Downing Street flat.
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The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it received a letter from Labour Party lawyers which said there was “reasonable suspicion" that the Prime Minister broke anti-bribery laws.
Downing Street denies the allegation.
A Met spokesman said: "A letter was received and acknowledged on Friday February 4. It is being considered by officers from the Met's Central Specialist Crime Command.
"No investigation has been opened."
WhatsApp messages released in January show how Mr Johnson pleaded for help with the £112,000 redo of his residence's appearance while at the same discussing the plan for a "Great Exhibition" with Lord Brownlow, a Conservative peer.
The exchange, dating to November 2020, revealed how Mr Johnson said the residence was "bit of a tip" and he was "keen" to get luxury interior designer Lulu Lytle to "get on with it".
Lord Brownlow met then-culture secretary Oliver Dowden two months later to discuss the exhibition idea, ministerial records show.
Mr Johnson had to apologise when the messages were released for failing to provide them to his adviser on ministerial interests, Lord Geidt, who had launched an investigation.
The Guardian reported that the letter sent by lawyers at Edwards Duthie Shamash - working for Labour - said some matters were "uninvestigated and unconsidered" despite the inquiries by the Electoral Commission and Lord Geidt.
The letter said: "It is respectfully suggested that the known facts and the clear, sensible inferences to which some of those facts give rise create such reasonable suspicion that, were the suspect anyone other than the Prime Minister, the Metropolitan Police would rightly consider itself duty-bound to investigate.
"Indeed, if anything, the fact that the suspicion arises in relation to someone in such a high office makes it more, not less, important in the public interest that these matters are investigated."
In response to the letter, a No 10 spokesman said: "These allegations are categorically untrue and a clear misrepresentation of the facts.
"Lord Brownlow, separate to his work for the emerging Downing Street Trust, put proposals (for a great exhibition) from the Royal Albert Hall, the national institution and charity, to the Prime Minister.
"This was passed to the lead department, DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport). It is a matter of public record that no project was taken forward by the Government."
Lord Brownlow is a trustee of the Royal Albert Hall Trust and an ambassador of the hall's 150th anniversary.
Separately, the Met has already confirmed it is going to contact 50 people in its Partygate investigation, the probe into potentially lockdown-breaching dos.
It confirmed it will re-examine a Christmas quiz after Boris Johnson was pictured with a bottle of alcohol.
Formal questionnaires will be sent to people the Met thinks attended an event on one of eight dates between May 2020 and April 2021.