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UK’s Johnson under fresh criticism after text messages with Conservative donor emerges

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a press conference for the latest COVID-19 update, in the Downing Street briefing room, in central London, the UK, on December 8, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under fresh criticism amid revelations about his plea for funds for his flat refurbishment from a Conservative donor.

Johnson was accused of corruption after newly published WhatsApp messages with Tory peer David Brownlow on Friday showed the PM calling the refurbishment costs of his residential home a “tip” and asking for “approvals” so his decor designer, Lulu Lytle, could “get on with it” in November 2020.

He signed off his message by saying: “Ps am on the great exhibition plan Will revert,” promising to consider plans for a mystery “great exhibition” for Brownlow in return.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said if Brownlow’s payment for the refurbishment is true, it would constitute “corruption, plain and simple.”

The Liberal Democrats’ chief whip, Wendy Chamberlain, said, “It stinks of the worst kind of Conservative cronyism, with Boris Johnson seemingly happy to scratch his lord donor’s back to get his flat spruced up in return.”

The PM was forced to make a “humble and sincere” apology for rejecting to deliver the texts to his independent ethics adviser during an initial inquiry last spring. However, he finally brought up the excuse that he did not have access to his phone due to “security issues” at the time.

The first Great Exhibition was held in 1851. According to the official records, schedules for a “Great Exhibition 2.0” were discussed by Brownlow and the then-Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden weeks after the WhatsApp exchanges.

The event, worth £120m, which is funded by the UK government, is set to go ahead this year under the name “Unboxed.”

The British PM has come under fire recently for several issues such as lying about a Christmas party with Downing Street staff at No. 10 amid the surge of pandemic last year.

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