Conservative Party HQ ‘warns staff that deleting texts or emails related to Boris Johnson’s Downing Street condo renovation could bring them to court’ as assistants are given a week to hand over phones after election committee conducts a formal investigation has started
- The Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into the renovation of flat No. 11
- Tory HQ has warned staff ‘you are being warned this is a criminal investigation’
- Staff have been warned that the destruction of information may be a criminal offense
Conservative Party headquarters have warned staff that deleting texts or emails related to the renovation of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat could bring them to court, it was claimed today.
The Electoral Commission announced earlier this week that it was starting a formal investigation into how the renovation was being funded, claiming there were reasonable grounds to suspect that political financing laws had been violated.
Mr Johnson has said he paid ‘personally’ for the renovation but declined to say whether he received an initial donation from the Conservative Party to cover the costs, reportedly up to £ 200,000.
The Sun reported that Conservative Campaign Headquarters staff received an email yesterday saying, “You are being notified that this is a criminal investigation.”
The election commission announced earlier this week that it was launching a formal investigation into how the renovation of Boris Johnson’s flat at 11 Downing Street was being funded.
Aides would have been given a week to hand over relevant texts or emails to support the watchdog’s investigation.
The email to staff stated, “If you knowingly falsify, conceal, destroy, or otherwise delete information … you could be committing a criminal offense — disrupting the course of justice.”
The Electoral Commission has the power to impose fines or refer cases to the police.
The prime minister has said the argument over the financing of the apartment renovation is a ‘farrago of nonsense’ and ‘I don’t think there is anything to be seen here’.
Downing Street said Mr. Johnson would be “happy” to assist the committee in its investigation of who initially paid for the work carried out in his No. 11 residence.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said earlier this week: “We believe that all reportable donations have been reported transparently and correctly and published by the Electoral Commission.
‘We will continue to work constructively with the Electoral Commission on this matter.
“While an investigation is ongoing, we will not respond further.”