PM position 'untenable' if he broke ministerial code – Gordon Brown

Boris Johson’s position will be ‘untenable’ if he has broken ministerial code over ‘wallpapergate’, warns Gordon Brown as Dominic Cummings surfaces for the first time since revealing he told PM that No11 flat makeover plan might be illegal

  • Gordon Brown has warned PM’s position ‘untenable’ if broke ministerial code
  • Boris Johnson has dismissed storm over ‘wallpapergate’ flat refurb allegations
  • Dominic Cummings pictured for the first time since escalating row last month 

Boris Johnson’s position will be ‘untenable’ if he has broken the ministerial code over ‘wallpapergate’, Gordon Brown warned today.

The Labour former PM waded into the row after ministers again refused to say whether Mr Johnson will quit if inquiries find he had breached conduct rules.

The premier has dismissed a backlash over the lavish refurbishment of his No11 flat, amid claims Tory donors initially paid for some of the work without any gifts being declared. 

Mr Johnson insists he had now footed the bill himself and voters view the allegations as ‘trivia’ – despite early signs that they are starting to take a toll on the Conservatives ahead of a crucial elections this week.

Meanwhile, Dominic Cummings has surfaced after dramatically escalating the situation last month. 

He revealed in a blog that he told the PM that ‘donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations’.  

During an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour today, Mr Brown said that ‘clearly gifts have to be declared’.

‘I think if he’s (Boris Johnson) breached the ministerial code and he’s told the House of Commons something that turns out not to be true, that becomes untenable,’ he said.

Dominic Cummings (pictured right today) has surfaced after dramatically escalating the situation over the Downing Street flat refurb last month

Labour former PM Gordon Brown (pictured) waded into the flat row after ministers again refused to say whether Mr Johnson will quit if inquiries find he had breached conduct rules

‘But I think the issue at the moment is can you have rules for gifts? People should not be receiving gifts because they’re in Government because you become beholden to people, you become in their debt, you cannot have that and clearly gifts have got to be declared.

‘And lobbying, this is another problem we’ve got. I mean clearly no person should be entering public service simply for private gain, so you’ve got to have rules that stop people making money by becoming commercial lobbyists for firms, sometimes foreign firms, pressing their own government after they’ve left office, it’s completely unacceptable. Public service cannot be a platform for private gain.’

He added: ‘If he (Mr Johnson) would state that these principles were principles that he would uphold, and then publish the information that backs up that he’s doing all that then I think people would be satisfied, but you can’t really evade a question of wrongdoing by saying ‘my mind’s on something else’, you’ve got to do the right thing all the time.’

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said on Sunday that Mr Johnson should ‘of course’ quit if he is found to have breached the ministerial code. 

But pressed on the renovations this morning, Trade Secretary Liz Truss was not so forthcoming.

She told Sky News: ‘Well the Prime Minister is very clear that he’s covered the cost of these refurbishments, that he’s been working with officials, that he’s declared in line with the appropriate rules, but I’m not going to answer hypotheticals about what might happen at some future date. What the Prime Minister has made clear is he has covered the cost.

‘I think the British public understand that, they want us to get on with the job which is delivering the vaccine programme and making sure we recover our economy after Covid, and that we have the jobs and growth we need across the UK.’ 

Trade Secretary Liz Truss today declined to say the PM would quit if he is found to have broken the ministerial code

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