Downing Street has refused to deny claims that Boris Johnson approached Tory donors to help pay the costs of childcare for his son.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson would only say that Johnson “covered the cost” of childcare for Wilfred, his son with fiancee Carrie Symonds.
But they would not say whether the PM had approached Tory donors about helping with the costs, or whether he had been given money by donors to then cover the costs.
On Monday, Johnson refused to deny the claims while on a visit in Hartlepool, insisting that “all this kind of stuff is, in my view, exclusively for the interest of the Westminster bubble”.
But it comes with the Tories embroiled in what Labour is calling “sleaze” allegations, and amid concerns about the potential undue influence of donors on Johnson.
Last week, the Electoral Commission announced an investigation into who paid for the refurbishment of Johnson and Symonds’ Downing Street flat, amid claims that Tory donors were asked to help with the bill which reportedly ran into tens of thousands of pounds.
There are also several other probes in government and in parliament into lobbying and donations.
Asked on Monday to deny that Tory donors were approached to pay for Johnson’s childcare, the PM’s spokesperson said: “The prime minister has covered all the costs of all childcare and I’ve got nothing more to add to that.”
Asked if Johnson was paying out of his own pocket or if he has been given money from donors to cover the cost of childcare, the spokesperson said: “I’ve got nothing more to add. The prime minister has covered all costs.”
Pressed on whether the PM approached donors to pay for childcare, but that the proposal did not end up going ahead, the spokesperson replied: “What I’m saying is the prime minister has covered all costs of childcare, I’m not adding anymore to that.”
The government has no imminent plans to boost the childcare support on offer for the wider public, the spokesperson suggested.
“The government’s policies on providing childcare to parents are well established and in fact well taken up,” they said.
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