Conservative Party HQ 'warns staff over PM's flat renovation probe'04/30/2021
Conservative Party HQ ‘warns staff that deleting texts or emails relating to Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat renovation could land them in court’ as aides are given a week to hand over phones after Electoral Commission launches formal probe
- Electoral Commission has launched an inquiry into refurbishment of No11 flat
- Tory HQ has warned staff ‘you are put on notice this is a criminal investigation’
- Staff have been warned that destroying information could be a criminal offence
Conservative Party HQ has warned staff that deleting texts or emails relating to the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat could land them in court, it was claimed today.
The Electoral Commission announced earlier this week that it was launching a formal probe into how the refurbishment was financed, claiming there were reasonable grounds to suspect political funding laws could have been broken.
Mr Johnson has said he ‘personally’ paid for the renovations but has refused to say whether he received an initial donation from the Conservative Party to cover the costs, reported to be up to £200,000.
The Sun reported that staff at Conservative Campaign Headquarters were sent an email yesterday stating: ‘You are put on notice that this is a criminal investigation.’
The Electoral Commission announced earlier this week that it was launching a formal probe into how the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s Number 11 Downing Street flat was financed
Aides are said to have been given a week to hand over relevant texts or emails to aid the watchdog’s investigation.
The email to staff said: ‘If you knowingly falsify, conceal, destroy or otherwise dispose of information… you could be committing a criminal offence of Perverting the Course of Justice.’
The Electoral Commission has the power to impose fines or refer cases to the police.
The Prime Minister has said the row over the funding of the flat refurbishment is a ‘farrago of nonsense’ and ‘I don’t think there’s anything to see here’.
Downing Street said Mr Johnson would be ‘happy’ to assist the commission with its inquiries into who initially paid for the work carried out in his Number 11 residence.
A Conservative Party spokesman said earlier this week: ‘We believe all reportable donations have been transparently and correctly declared and published by the Electoral Commission.
‘We will continue to work constructively with the Electoral Commission on this matter.
‘While an investigation is ongoing we will not be commenting further.’
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