Boris Johnson has insisted he is a fan of retailer John Lewis after the leader of the opposition mocked the scandal surrounding the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.
The prime minister was asked about reports he and his fiancee Carrie Symonds had rejected furnishings by the department store left in the Number 11 flat by his predecessor Theresa May.
When asked about the reports during a visit to King Solomon Academy in west London on Thursday, the prime minister told broadcasters: “The one thing I object to in this whole farrago of nonsense is I love John Lewis.
“But what I will say is what people want this government to do is focus on their priorities.”
Symonds reportedly saw the lavish overhaul as necessary to rid the PM’s residence of the “John Lewis nightmare” left behind by May, according to Tatler.
The taxpayer funds a £30,000 annual allowance but the redecoration, which reportedly involves the company Soane, co-founded by designer Lulu Lytle – have stretched beyond that.
Some reports suggest the upgrades hit the £200,000 mark while a leaked email suggested Tory peer Lord Brownlow was making a £58,000 donation to the Conservatives “to cover the payments the party has already made on behalf of the soon-to-be-formed ‘Downing Street Trust’”.
Johnson said he did not believe “there is anything to see here” when asked about the Electoral Commission’s investigation, telling reporters: “What we are doing is focusing on the stuff that really matters.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer used a campaign visit to poke fun at the PM.
He browsed the wallpaper section of the John Lewis store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre.
Reports have suggested wallpaper costing up to £840 a roll was used in the Downing Street flat refurbishment.
Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling accused Sir Keir of “playing politics” on the issue.