Boris Johnson fears the final bill for Carrie Symonds’s lavish makeover of their Downing Street flat could be as high as £200,000.
He told aides of his worries in crisis meetings on how to pay for his fiancee’s refurbishment.
A source said the Cabinet Office had asked Conservative chiefs if party HQ has paid for some of the work – but failed to get an answer.
The Prime Minister faced further trouble last night over claims that Whitehall ethics chiefs have refused to approve his secret bid to help raise funds for the makeover by setting up a ‘Downing Street charity’.
Well-placed sources have provided new details of No 10 talks dating back nearly a year over how the refurbishment would be financed.
Boris Johnson fears the final bill for Carrie Symonds’s lavish makeover of their Downing Street flat could be as high as £200,000
The Prime Minister told aides of his worries in crisis meetings on how to pay for his fiancee’s refurbishment (pictured)
The Daily Mail has been told that Mr Johnson was present when a plan was mooted to ask Tory donors – including environment minister Lord [Zac] Goldsmith, a close friend of Miss Symonds, and billionaire JCB construction boss Lord Bamford – to contribute. It is not known whether either man has provided funds.
This newspaper has been told of concern among some senior Tory figures over whether it was ‘appropriate’ for party funds to be used ‘in effect, to subsidise the Prime Minister and his partner’s lifestyle’.
Meanwhile, The Mail reveals today that Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds have also enjoyed an estimated £12,500 of food deliveries in Downing Street, including prepared meals, from a luxury organic farmshop owned by Lord Bamford’s wife.
A No10 spokesman said: ‘The costs of food for personal consumption are met by Boris Johnson.’
It follows a furore sparked by our revelation on Tuesday that the Prime Minister is trying to set up a charity to help foot the bill for the flat refurbishment.
The Daily Mail has been told that Mr Johnson was present when a plan was mooted to ask Tory donors – including environment minister Lord [Zac] Goldsmith, a close friend of Miss Symonds (pictured together alongside Sajid Javid)
Sir Alistair Graham, former head of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said the proposal was ‘monstrous’. But there is no suggestion by the Daily Mail the proposed charity would be illegal or not qualify for charitable status.
Mr Johnson ordered officials privately: ‘No one is allowed to mention Carrie and the flat.’ He has had lengthy talks with Cabinet Secretary Simon Case over how to handle the controversy.
The Prime Minister decided to set up the charity six months ago and appointed Tory financier Lord Brownlow to run it for him.
Its official purpose was to maintain Downing Street for the nation. In reality, it was designed to a large extent to help Mr Johnson pay for the refurbishment. Even though he earns £150,000 a year, his friends say he ‘has no money’ due to an expensive divorce and having to support at least six children.
Meanwhile, The Mail reveals today that Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds have also enjoyed an estimated £12,500 of food deliveries in Downing Street, including prepared meals, from a luxury organic farmshop owned by Lord Bamford’s wife
He has repeatedly complained privately that he feared the cost of the No 11 flat makeover, ‘inspired’ by upmarket interior designer Lulu Lytle, was ‘heading towards 200k (£200,000),’ according to multiple sources. One source said: ‘He’s been tearing his hair out for a year.’
Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds were left with a six-figure shortfall after the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics Team (PET) said only £30,000 of taxpayers’ money could be spent on the refurbishment.
Dilyn on the carpet over £5,000 of destruction
An extra £5,000 was added to the bill for No 11’s makeover because the Prime Minister’s dog Dilyn fouled the carpets
An extra £5,000 was added to the bill for No 11’s makeover… because the Prime Minister’s dog Dilyn fouled the carpets.
Mr Johnson and Carrie Symonds had to have them ripped up and replaced with expensive rugs because of the mess caused by the terrier when it was a puppy.
The beige fitted carpets were said to be ‘spotless’ when Mr Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May moved out from the No 11 flat in 2019.
Dilyn has also, apparently caused similar damage at Chequers.
Allies hoped the trust proposal, based on US charities to preserve the White House, would deal with Cabinet Office objections to previous schemes they put forward.
But the Mail understands PET is yet to sign off the plan. Charity Commission rules say charities cannot be set up for political purposes. Downing Street hoped to launch the charity later this year, without highlighting the link to the refurbishment of No 11. But the cover-up bid was exposed when details were leaked to the Mail.
Lord Bamford’s family and his company have given more than £4million to the Tory party.
Lord Goldsmith was controversially ennobled by fellow Old Etonian Mr Johnson immediately after losing his Commons seat in 2019. It meant he could continue as environment minister, where he works closely with Miss Symonds, who shares his views on ‘green’ issues.
A spokesman for Lord Goldsmith said: ‘Zac has made donations to the Conservative Party but has made no donations to anything relating to No 10.’ Lord Goldsmith declined to comment further. There is no suggestion of any impropriety by him, or Lord or Lady Bamford.
Downing Street last night declined to say if Mr Johnson had said he feared the bill could hit £200,000, if the two lords were discussed as donors, if the Cabinet Office signed off the proposed charity – or whether the party paid the bill for the flat.
A spokesman said ‘all reportable donations are transparently declared to and published by the Electoral Commission or Commons registrar,’ adding: ‘Gifts and benefits received in a ministerial capacity are declared in Government transparency returns.’ The cost of the refurbishment will be in Cabinet Office accounts later this year.
Tory HQ, the Cabinet Office, Lord Bamford and Daylesford Organic Farmshop declined to comment.
Takeaways for Boris & Carrie from UK’s poshest farm shop – costing £125,000
By Simon Walters and Gregory Kirby
Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds have dined in style during the pandemic – thanks to a secret £12,500 gourmet food supply provided by a business owned by the family of a billionaire Tory donor.
They have had around 30 giant boxes of shopping and up to 100 prepared meals from a luxury organic food store ‘smuggled in’ to Downing Street via the rear entrance.
The deliveries are from the Daylesford organic farm shop company, owned by Lady Bamford, wife of JCB construction tycoon Lord Bamford, whose family has given millions to the Conservative Party.
A heaving box of weekly shopping from Daylesford – one of the most expensive food stores in Britain, and which is favoured by celebrities including Hugh Grant – is delivered to Downing Street on Tuesdays with a bouquet of flowers
They have had around 30 giant boxes of shopping and up to 100 prepared meals from a luxury organic food store ‘smuggled in’ to Downing Street via the rear entrance
According to the Commons Register of Interests, Lord Bamford and his JCB firm bankrolled Mr Johnson to the tune of £160,000 in 2019.
A heaving box of weekly shopping from Daylesford – one of the most expensive food stores in Britain, and which is favoured by celebrities including Hugh Grant – is delivered to Downing Street on Tuesdays with a bouquet of flowers.
In addition, pre-prepared meals are dropped off at lunchtime on weekdays by the same delivery man, prepared by Mr Johnson’s Daylesford ‘personal chef’.
The deliveries are from the Daylesford organic farm shop company, owned by Lady Bamford, wife of JCB construction tycoon Lord Bamford (pictured together), whose family has given millions to the Conservative Party
The hampers are so heavy that Downing Street staff use a large trolley to ferry them to Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds’ Number 11 flat
The hampers cost around £250 each, including delivery, worth a total of around £7,500 since the deliveries started nearly a year ago.
They are so heavy that Downing Street staff use a large trolley to ferry them to Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds’ Number 11 flat.
The pre-prepared meals cost an estimated £50 for two, a total of up to £5,000.
The revelation comes after the Mail told how Miss Symonds is masterminding a refurb of No11 ‘inspired’ by upmarket interior designer Lulu Lytle.
Upper crust food store: The Daylesford farmshop and cafe at Brompton Cross in South Kensington
That’s rich food: Store’s £18 smoked salmon… and £3.50 turmeric houmous
A member of the Daylesford staff said the ready-made meals are prepared at Daylesford’s Brompton Cross branch on Sloane Avenue in South Kensington by the firm’s head chef.
The staff member said the daily deliveries of meals started after the Prime Minister’s near-fatal brush with Covid last April.
Mr Johnson vowed to lose weight and improve his diet, with help from his health-conscious fiancee Miss Symonds.
Since then they are believed to have received organic food from Daylesford worth a total estimated at £12,500.
A cheaper option is available in the Downing Street canteen, frequented by junior officials, ministers and mandarins alike, where, thanks to a taxpayers’ subsidy, a healthy lunch of quiche lorraine and boiled potatoes costs a bargain £5.
The Daylesford deliveries mean that unlike millions of Britons, Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds have not had to queue at supermarkets during lockdowns.
But in their determination to keep their upmarket ‘food bank’ secret, they sparked security worries.
Officials expressed concern at the way the Daylesford boxes bypass strict security checks at the Downing Street main entrance.
Insiders say there have been occasional ‘complaints from the Downing Street flat’ when the deliveries are delayed.
Lady Bamford has one cafe/shop in Gloucestershire and three in fashionable parts of London – Brompton Cross near Sloane Square, Marylebone and Notting Hill.
She and her husband live on a 1,500-acre estate near Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds, 30 miles from Mr Johnson’s private country home in Thame, Oxfordshire.
Lady Bamford founded Daylesford over 40 years ago, when she began converting her family’s farmland to produce organic food to improve her children’s diets.
It is now dubbed the most sustainable – and poshest – farmshop in Britain and has become a lauded example of eco-farming across the globe, a subject close to the heart of passionate environmental campaigner Miss Symonds.
The vast majority of Daylesford’s produce is reared and grown on organic land at the Bamford Gloucestershire estate, which also boasts a spa, cookery school and creamery.
Most of their livestock roam freely, and are fed on organic crops from the farm itself.
Their healthy lifestyles mean some animals are said to live twice as long at Daylesford compared to other farms.
Lady Bamford was awarded the OBE for ‘services to children and families’.
According to the Commons Register of Interests, Mr Johnson was given two hampers in April last year by Simon Blagden and Mohammad Chohan.
It does not say which company provided the hampers.
Downing Street said last night that the Prime Minister paid the Daylesford bills himself.
A Number 10 spokesman said: ‘The costs of food for personal consumption are met by Boris Johnson.’
The spokesman declined to comment further.
Daylesford and Lord Bamford failed to respond to a request for comment.