Wallpaper row shows how out of touch Boris Johnson is, says Labour MP


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row was growing today over claims that the Prime Minister is considering setting up a charity scheme to help pay for the refurbishment of Downing Street.

The controversial proposal, which has emerged amid allegations of a costly makeover of his flat by his fiancée Carrie Symonds, is said to be based on a scheme used by the White House.

But a Labour MP said the proposal could not be “more out of touch” with the circumstances many families were facing.

The purpose of the charitable fund would be to maintain the No 11 flat and other parts of Downing Street, including the state rooms, according to the Daily Mail.

The PM has asked multi-millionaire financier and Tory peer Lord Brownlow to run the charity and an application to register it with the Charity Commission is under way, the paper alleged.

It was also claimed Mr Johnson has complained that the cost of refurbishment by Ms Symonds was “totally out of control” and he was alarmed at the cost of wallpaper chosen, which included “gold wall coverings”.

The restyled décor is said to have been inspired by celebrated eco interior designer Lulu Lytle whose fabrics start at £100 a metre.

The official purpose of the PM’s proposed charity, according to the report in the Daily Mail, is to raise funds to preserve Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street for the nation.

The Standard asked official spokespersons for guidance and got no reply. We also asked Number 10’s official press office if they disputed the story.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a meeting of journalists: “Matters concerning any work on Downing Street, including the residences, are covered in the Cabinet Office annual report and accounts. That’s where we set out the details about what has happened.”

Pressed on the charity, he replied: “I’m not going to get into commenting on speculation around this.”

Asked why the flat was being refurbished, he replied: “Downing Street is a working building it obviously contains two ministerial residences. As it has been under successive administrations refurbishments are made periodically.”

Asked if it has cost more than £100,000, he added: “I’m not going to comment on speculation.”



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