Johnson blames new phone number on failing to disclose messages on Downing Street flat refurb
Boris Johnson has reportedly said he did not disclose messages about donations for his Downing Street flat refurbishment because they were on an old phone.
It comes as Johnson is expected to be cleared today of wrongdoing by his own ministerial standards adviser Lord Christopher Geidt over undisclosed donations to the Tory party from Lord David brownlow.
The Tory party was fined in November by the Electoral Commission for failing to disclose the more than £50,000 given by Brownlow to the party to help cover the costs of the refurbishment.
Johnson has been in hot water for misleading Geidt over the timing of his contact with the Tory donor.
Geidt found in his investigation that Johnson had spoken to Brownlow in November 2020 about paying for the refurbishment, despite Johnson’s claims that his first contact with the Tory donor was in March 2021.
The timing is significant as Johnson initially said he had not lobbied Brownlow for the money, however his Whatsapps to the millionaire businessman suggest otherwise.
The Financial Times reports that the Prime Minister told Geidt that he did not disclose the November 2020 Whatsapps as they were on an old phone number.
A Downing Street source told the FT: “The prime minister has told Geidt that he did not see the WhatsApp messages because he changed his phone number.”
Another senior Whitehall official said “Geidt is pretty unhappy at the situation that he didn’t know about the WhatsApp. His language about the PM’s conduct is coruscating, even if he accepts he was not willing misled”.