Boris Johnson ‘told aides he couldn’t afford Downing Street refurbishment’

Boris Johnson (R) and his partner Carrie Symonds (L) outside 10 Downing street (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson complained to aides that the cost of the Downing Street revamp was spiralling out of control and that his partner was buying “gold wallpaper”, according to reports.

The Prime Minister is increasingly under pressure over the refurbishment of his No 11 flat despite Downing Street’s efforts to draw a line under the issue.

A No 10 spokesman said renovation costs of Mr Johnson’s living quarters - beyond the £30,000 annual allowance - had been met by the Prime Minister.

They added: “Conservative Party funds are not being used for this.”

However, Labour has called for answers on how the work was funded and the Daily Mail has alleged that the Prime Minister told colleagues the bill was escalating out of control.

‘The cost is totally out of control’

The newspaper claims Mr Johnson’s chief of staff Dan Rosenfield felt the refurbishment was a “crazy arrangement” and a “mess”.

It is reported that when aides asked the Prime Minister how much the upgrades were costing, Mr Johnson replied: “Tens and tens of thousands – I can’t afford it.”

“The cost is totally out of control – she’s buying gold wallpaper,” he is alleged to have said.

What Dominic Cummings claimed

The Conservative Party leader has faced a flurry of questions regarding how the revamp was paid for following a fallout with former aide Dominic Cummings.

The former de facto chief of staff, who quit his post last year, said Mr Johnson wanted donors to “secretly pay” for the work in an “unethical, foolish, possibly illegal” move.

When pressed by reporters on Tuesday, No 10 declined to deny suggestions that the Prime Minister received a loan from the Conservative Party to cover the initial costs, before repaying the party.

‘No more cover ups, no more prevarication’

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said Tory Party co-chair Amanda Milling needed to “come clean” about whether party funds had been used.

“No more cover ups, no more prevarication,” said Ms Rayner.

“Tell us who paid for the Prime Minister’s flat, and release all correspondence on this matter between the Conservative Party, Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.”

How much Prime Ministers can spend on flat renovations

Prime Ministers are allocated a budget of up to £30,000 per year to renovate their Downing Street residency, but newspaper reports have suggested Mr Johnson has spent up to £200,000 on the changes.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, head of the Civil Service, has been tasked with reviewing the refurbishment of the flat in No 11, while the Electoral Commission is also looking into the affair.