Publish these letters now! Angela Rayner throws down gauntlet to Boris in fiery attack

PMQs: Angela Rayner shares leadership ‘aspirations’

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On Thursday, the Prime Minister was criticised over an official inquiry into the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat but was still not found to have breached the ministerial rulebook. The Deputy leader of the Labour Party skewered the Prime Minister after the reports emerged.

Speaking on Twitter, Ms Rayner mocked reports that Mr Johnson did not reveal messages about the Downing Street flat refurbishment as he changed his phone number.

She posted on Twitter: “Ah the old ‘changed phone’ trick! An oldie but a goodie.

“The PM learning from his Ministers on how to hide your dodgy WhatsApps.

“Publish these letters now so we can all see how he justifies asking a Tory donor to pay for the refurbishment of his flat, and then lied about it.”

In more attacks on the Prime Minister, Ms Rayner posted pictures of text message between Mr Johnson and Lord Brownslow about the Number 11 refurbishment, which were missing from the original inquiry into the flat.

In the texts from November 29, the Prime Minister said parts of his flat “are still a bit of a tip”, to which Lord Brownlow said he and Soane Britain designer Lulu Lytle will “get it sorted ASAP”.

The Conservative peer added: “I should have said, as their Trust isn’t set up yet (will be in January) approval is a diddle as it’s only me and I know where the £ will come from, so as soon as Lulu calls we can crack on.”

Ms Rayner said: “A man that hasn’t yet discovered a comb telling us his grace and favour flat was ‘a tip’ seems a bit rich.”

In another tweet, Ms Rayner said the Prime Minister “has little regard for the rules or the truth” after the missing texts emerged.

She said: “The Ministerial Code requires ministers to act with transparency and honesty.

“It is simply impossible to read these exchanges and conclude that the Prime Minister has not breached these aspects of the Code. Once again, by attempting to hide the truth, Boris Johnson undermines his own office.

“The Prime Minister’s pathetic excuses will fool no one, and this is just the latest in a long line of sorry episodes. This matters because it matters who has influence on our government in a democracy.

“The British public can’t WhatsApp a wealthy donor to open their wallets on request, and the least they deserve is transparency about who’s bankrolling their Prime Minister.”

It comes as Lord Geidt said Mr Johnson demonstrated “insufficient” respect for his role over messages between the Prime Minister and Lord Brownlow not being provided during an inquiry into how the Downing Street refurbishments were funded.

Lord Geidt accused Number 10 and Cabinet Office officials of keeping him in the dark over a “missing exchange” between Mr Johnson and the Tory donor.

Had he known about the message, Lord Geidt suggested he may not have been able to state “without qualification” that Mr Johnson had properly declared the interest in line with the rules.

In the original investigation into the April 2020 refurbishment of Number 11, Lord Geidt concluded Mr Johnson did not breach the Ministerial Code and that no conflict or reasonably perceived conflict of interest arose.

Lord Geidt however expressed it was “unwise” for Johnson to have proceeded with refurbishments without “more rigorous regard for how this would be funded”.

The Electoral Commission reported on December 9 it found that the Conservative Party had failed to follow the law in not accurately reporting donations to the party from Lord Brownlow and imposed a £17,800 fine on them.

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