Boris, who lives in the flat above No.10 (which is No.11), exceeded the financial renovation limit on the property. Apparently, the "small sum" of £30,000 (a public grant) was insufficient to install a Death Star; so, he propped-up the amount with funds from Tory MP donor Lord Brownlow.
However, potential investigations have been extinguished like a Tory's cigar in a private club. Lord Geidt, the parliamentary standards commissioner (sounds important, doesn't it?), cleared the PM of any wrong-doing.
Donor accepted funds should be made public by the PM, but, Boris only mentioned these when his former aide, Dominic Cummings, brought them to the publics attention in April 2021. Since then, the funds have been personally covered by the PM.
So, why should we care?
The WhatsApp messaging between Boris and Brownlow and the implication of corruption, that's why. Or, at least, that's the message from Labour.
In the leaked WhatsApp chat, where the PM asks if the interior designer's contact with the Tory donor is ok, he end's with the post-script "am on the great exhibition plan Will revert". 'the great exhibition' was a proposal for a culture festival which Lord Brownlow was a trustee member; and six-weeks after WhatsApp-Gate, Brownlow did meet with the Culture Secretary to discuss it.
Plans for the festival eventually fell through, but Labour have used this episode to heap pressure on Boris; and at the same time, imply a lack of honesty in his character and a lack of trust in his position as Prime Minister. They commented "Lord Brownlow appears to have access to the Prime Minister because he was paying for a flat renovation. If that is the case, that is corruption".
And that's not the only jab from the red corner.
In December 2021, we wrote about Boris' need for Labour's support in passing public health measures because of the open revolt from his back-benchers.
Party roles and allegiances have now returned to how we know them (phew!) , with Keir Starmer slamming the handling of the energy crisis. Labour, who aim to save households "an average of £400 per year on the bills" were referring to the expected energy price rise in April 2022. Throughout 2021, energy costs rose due to increased demand and low supply. Reports this year estimate an increase of up to 50%; which will only add further worries to struggling households.
Lib Dem leader , Ed Davey, lead with "Cabinet ministers are turning a blind eye to families in their own backyard struggling with soaring heating bills".
INews continued the Lib Dem's message with "a windfall tax on oil and gas producers who have profited from the price increases would generate enough money to give over seven million households £300 off their heating bills this years - an estimated £5 billion to £7 billion"
A Windfall Tax is a one-off payment levied to a company, or companies, with the proceeds being used for social programs, like helping households pay the surging energy costs. In other words, the oil an gas companies would practically pay the costs of the energy rise (sounds great, I'm in).
With Boris appearing to stop short of lighting fires around the country; he also failed to come down hard on the VAT added to those expected energy rises. Which, with the body of costs ominously close to tipping point, add one more dimly lit lightbulb to the millions of households watching their wallets.
And, breaking today, with it once again ringing the parliamentary bell we chimed on the 20th of December, is the news that the PM was aware of a 100 person invitation to a Downing Street garden-party in May 2020. With the rest of the country under lockdown measures, the PM was part of a "bring your own booze" event.
The PM, neither by WhatsApp or public announcement, hasn't confirmed or denied his attendance.
Keir Starmer, sharp as sambuca, advised the PM to "come clean".
So, this story at No. 11, where Boris walked the line of corruption with his renovation; refused to be clear, direct and comforting to millions of households about the energy crisis' and the expected financial rise; and appears to have talked shop in a garden-party whilst the rest of the UK were under lockdown measures, comes to an abrupt and predictable end.
Let's hope we can afford the heating.