21:01 GMT15 May 2021
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    Boris Johnson is himself a former journalist - he started out as a European Union correspondent but was sacked by The Times for allegedly fabricating a quote. But now his erstwhile colleagues in the media are gunning for him.

    Boris Johnson has promised to comply with the investigation by the Electoral Commission into the refurbishment of his private flat in Downing Street.

    The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, has called on the Prime Minister to reveal "quickly" who paid the cost - rumoured to be around £200,000 - and said once he did "then he can get back on with the day job."

    ​But what is all the fuss about and why is the media whipping up the “cash for cushions” controversy with only days to go before important elections for local councils and the Mayor of Election?

    The saga began in the wake of reports which emerged about former Prime Minister David Cameron lobbying the government on behalf of Greensill Capital and then reports of Boris Johnson promising to help tycoon James Dyson to “fix” a tax issue.

    Mr Johnson’s former spin doctor Dominic Cummings, his ego bruised by being sacked by the prime minister last year, said Mr. Johnson had questions to answer about the refurbishment of his private flat at 11 Downing Street.

    Cummings said the prime minister wanted Tory donors to "secretly pay" for the work, estimated at £200,000.

    The former chief adviser to PM said this had been "unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended."

    A leaked e-mail then revealed Tory peer Lord Brownlow had donated £58,000 towards the project, asking it be attributed to a “soon-to-be-formed Downing Street Trust.”

    ​Tatler magazine then reported that when Johnson's fiancee Carrie Symonds moved into the apartment she hated the "glum decor" provided by British department store chain John Lewis and left by former prime minister, Theresa May.

    A source told the BBC the flat refurbishment had been carried out under the supervision of top interior designer Lulu Lytle.

    Prime ministers are given an annual public grant of £30,000 to spend on the property but Mr Johnson and his partner are not the first occupants to go over budget.

    Tony Blair and his wife Cherie are believed to have spent £127,000 on the flat and David Cameron and spouse Samantha splashed out £64,000.

    On 23 April government minister Lord True said: "Any costs of wider refurbishment in this year have been met by the prime minister personally."

    Mr Johnson has refused to give details of how the refurbishment was initally paid for.

    He has referred to the story as a “farrago of nonsense” and on Thursday, 29 April, even managed to joke about it, telling reporters: "I love John Lewis!"

    It remains to be seen whether the "cash for cushions" affair will be forgotten in a few weeks or if Mr Johnson really will be forced from his office over his choice of furnishings.

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