PMQs: Keir Starmer accuses Boris Johnson of 'sleaze, cronyism and scandal' over Downing Street refurb

Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens to Labour leader Keir Starmer during Prime Minister's Questions

Prime minister Boris Johnson listens to Labour leader Keir Starmer during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London - Credit: PA

Sir Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of "sleaze, cronyism and scandal" after the Electoral Commission launched an investigation into the refurb of the prime minister's Downing Street flat.

Sir Keir used Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) to grill Johnson over the Commission's announcement.

“Who initially, and prime minister, initially is the key word here, who initially paid for the redecoration of his Downing Street flat?” the Labour leader probed.

Johnson replied: “As for the latest stuff that he is bringing up, he should know that I have paid for Downing Street refurbishment personally.

“And I contrast it… any further declaration that I have to make, if any, I will be advised upon by Lord Geidt.”

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Sir Keir pushed again, stating: “Either the taxpayer paid the initial invoice, or it was the Conservative Party, or it was a private donor, or it was the prime minister.”

Responding, Johnson talked about former Labour governments’ spending on the flat and said: “I think people will think it absolutely bizarre that he is focusing on this issue when what people want to know is what plans a Labour government might have to improve the life of people in this country.”

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Sir Keir said the public “scream at their televisions” for Johnson to “answer the question” at Prime Minister’s Questions, telling the Commons: “The prime minister hasn’t answered the question, he knows he hasn’t answered the question, he never answers the question.”

The Labour leader then listed the principles meant to govern those in public office, telling the Commons: “Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

“Instead, what do we get from this prime minister and Conservative government?

“Dodgy contracts, jobs for their mates and cash for access – and who is at the heart of it? The prime minister, major sleaze sitting there.”

Sir Keir then criticised the government’s record on crime, NHS waiting lists and jobs, adding: “Don’t the British people deserve a prime minister they can trust and a government that isn’t mired in sleaze, cronyism and scandal?”

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