Guard canine must run Boris Johnson flat probe “quick,” says Senior Tory

The polling officer needs to quickly investigate who funded the renovation of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street apartment or risk the perception that she is “playing politics,” a senior Tory said.

Tom Tugendhat told HuffPost UK’s Commons People Podcast that the Electoral Commission must prove to be “regulators who are not only independent, but also considered independent”.

The watchdog believes that “there is reason to believe that there has been a crime or a criminal offense” relating to the financing of the renovation of apartment number 11.

No. 10 has refused to say whether Johnson has applied for an initial loan or donation to cover a reported £ 58,000 renovation of his residence at No. 11, which he shares with partner Carrie Symonds and their young son Wilfred.

Political donations must be declared to ensure that there are no questions or concerns that politicians or parties are unduly influenced by those who give them money.

Tugendhat called on the commission to produce any evidence of quick misconduct or to drop the probe.

It comes after the watchdog took more than a year between opening an investigation into Tory spending in the 2015 general election and publishing its results, though that appeared to be a much broader case.

Tugendhat told Commons People that the commission was an organization that “really has not always covered itself with fame”.

Niall Carson – PA Images via Getty ImagesTom Tugendhat, Chair of the Tory MP and Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs

Responding to the watchdog’s assessment that a crime may have been committed, he continued, “It’s a bit of a challenge, but I very much hope that if you make statements like that, they’ll get up quickly.”

Tugendhat added, “I am not responsible for this and the Electoral Commission is an independent organization and they will have to do what they have to do.

“But if they pull it out, it’ll look like they’re doing politics with it, and that would be a great shame.

“We need independent regulators that are not only independent, but are also considered independent.

“So if you have evidence, well, bring it up, publish it, and if you don’t, drop it.”

The chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee was also asked if he believed Johnson’s disapproval that he would rather see “corpses piled high” in the fall than order another lockdown, as well as the Prime Minister’s testimony about the apartment.

Tugendhat replied, “I think we have to take the Prime Minister at his word.

“We all know what it is like, it hasn’t changed in 25 to 30 years.

“None of this is a surprise.”

When asked how Johnson has been in those 25 to 30 years, the MP replied, “He was someone who expressed himself with bonomy and a certain ease, and we see that.”

Tugendhat also said that Tory candidates preparing for next week’s local elections would rather talk about political issues than the various allegations against Johnson.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of candidates who would like the focus to be on what they want to achieve for their communities, of course they do,” he said.

“And I sympathize with them because there are a lot of people who have worked extremely hard for four years trying to explain to their friends and neighbors exactly what they are going to do in the next four years, and that really matters.”

Earlier, Johnson said he would “comply” with the election commission’s investigation.

“I don’t think there is anything to see or to worry about,” he told reporters.

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