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Labour calls on Boris Johnson to say if he asked donors to pay for childcare

Downing Street refuses to confirm or deny wealthy supporters asked to pay for nanny

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
@andywoodcock
Tuesday 04 May 2021 14:30
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Labour has stepped up calls for Boris Johnson to provide details of his financial support from Tory donors after Downing Street refused to say whether he had asked for help with childcare costs.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner branded the issue “another cover-up” and urged Mr Johnson to publish all correspondence relating to any efforts to get wealthy donors to pay for his lifestyle.

The prime minister’s official spokesperson said Mr Johnson has personally covered all the costs for childcare for his son Wilfred, whose first birthday was last week.

But the spokesperson refused to be drawn on whether the PM had initially approached supporters for help him and fiancée Carrie Symonds pay for a nanny.

The Sunday Times quoted one party backer as complaining that they had been asked for a donation, adding: “I don’t mind paying for leaflets but I resent being asked to pay to literally wipe the prime minister’s baby’s bottom.”

In response, Mr Johnson’s spokesperson said: “The prime minister has covered the costs of all childcare.

“I have nothing more to add to that.

“I am not going to be getting into any more detail.”

The report comes amid continuing questions over how Mr Johnson paid for the reported £200,000 refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.

Mr Johnson has said that he met the cost himself but has refused to say whether initial bills were paid by donors.

The Electoral Commission last week launched an inquiry into whether any loans or donations made in connection with the refurbishment work had been properly declared.

The PM’s new adviser on ministerial standards, Lord Geidt, and the cabinet secretary, Simon Case, are also looking into the matter.

But Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson said he was not aware of the PM being approached by the parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Stone, after Labour’s Margaret Hodge last week asked her to open an inquiry into a possible breach of the rules on MPs’ conduct.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner called on Mr Johnson and the Conservative Party to publish all correspondence relating to his attempts to get Tory donors to fund his lifestyle.

“We are seeing what looks like another cover up from the prime minister, who is trying to hide his attempts to fund his lifestyle through secret payments from wealthy Tory donors,” she said.

“Boris Johnson forcing his MPs to vote against free school meals and making stealth cuts to schools at the same time as asking Tory donors to pay for his own childcare is yet more evidence that it’s one rule for him and his mates, another for everyone else.

“What did these donors expect in return for their generosity, and what were they promised?”

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