Boris Johnson’s plan to use a charity to cover the costs of his flat refurbishment have been criticised by a former parliamentary standards boss.
The prime minister reportedly wants the new body to be based on one used by the White House to raise millions of dollars for interior design, antiques and art.
He is said to be struggling to fund the makeover of his official flat by his fiancée, Carrie Symonds.
Mr Johnson is said to have asked Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row, a Tory peer and multimillionaire financier with close links to the royal family, to run the charity.
Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told The Times that the charity idea was “quite inappropriate”.
‘That’s not what charities are for’
Sir Alistair said: “It looks like he is seeking to set up the charity for personal benefit rather than for the benefit of a wider group in need.
“I would quite like to set a charity up to refurbish my flat in York, but I don’t think it’s a practical proposition.
“That’s not what charities are for: to provide enhanced living standards for the prime minister and his wife.”
The prime minister’s spokesman refused to be drawn on the issue on Tuesday, saying only: “Matters concerning any work on Downing Street are covered in Cabinet Office annual reports and accounts.
“Downing Street is a working building and it has, under successive administrations, been refurbished and maintained.”