Gordon Brown appears to be getting to that post-Prime Ministerial age when details about his time in office begin to slip. Maybe one day he’ll truly believe he saved the world, however this weekend the main memory issue seem to surround Downing Street renovations. In an interview with The Telegraph over the weekend he was asked about flat-gate:
“Listen, Sarah and I never spent anything on No 10, because we were very aware that we were in a financial crisis and that any sign we were spending money would be seen as not sharing the problems that the country faced.”
In the midst of wallpaper-gate last year, however, the government published exact cost figures of Downing Street flat renovations, going all the way back to 1997-98. It turns out that Brown’s phrase, “never spent anything”, actually amounted to a whopping £103,284 spent by him and Sarah between 2007 and 2010. Additionally awkward for Brown is the revelation that the only years a PM actually spent no public cash renovating their flat were under his Tory successors, in 2012-13, 14-15 and 17-18. Still, what’s £100,000 to a man whose time at the top of government cost the economy £3 trillion…
With child maintenance, a vastly expensive Lulu Lytle flat refurb, and a major pay cut since losing his Telegraph column, Boris’s time in No. 10 has been wracked with fiscal worries. It now seems it could get much worse for the PM.
Lawyer Adam Wagner has pointed out fixed penalty notices actually increase with every subsequent one received. So while just one rule-breaking event attended by the PM would see him charged £100, the second would be £200 and the third £800.
But the amount of a fixed penalty notice increases with each subsequent one given. Here's what I think those figures would be:— Adam Wagner (@AdamWagner1) February 2, 2022
By the time you take into account all six events the PM’s accused of having attended he could be staring down the barrel of a £12,300 bill. And that’s presuming the ABBA flat party didn’t have over 30 attendees, which would be greeted with a £10,000 fine.
Lord Geidt has concluded his review and exchanged letters with the PM. While the findings aren’t out yet, amazingly the Telegraph, Sun and FT have all discovered the new findings, not least Boris’s “humble and sincere” apology for failing to disclose key flat refurbishment WhatsApps because he recently changed phone numbers. He was only forced to change it after Popbitch revealed his then-number had been available online for 15 years…
The Telegraph reports that while Geidt has only “partially accepted” this explanation, he’s upheld his original conclusion that Boris’s flat renovation conduct didn’t breach the ministerial code. He will express “dissatisfaction” that the exchanges didn’t come to light during his original report…