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UPDATE 2-UK opposition calls for probe into PM's flat refurbishment

Sat, 24th Apr 2021 12:41

* Dominic Cummings called Johnson's plan 'unethical'

* Johnson's office said he followed the rules

* Labour says 'it stinks'
(Recasts with Labour leader's comments)

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Britain's opposition Labour
Party on Saturday called for an investigation into how Prime
Minister Boris Johnson funded a refurbishment of his Downing
Street flat following claims by his former top adviser.

Dominic Cummings, who left Johnson's staff suddenly late
last year having been his most influential adviser on Brexit and
the 2019 election campaign, said in a blog on Friday he had told
Johnson he thought his plans to have donors pay for the
renovation were "unethical, foolish, possibly illegal."

Cummings said he was not responsible for leaks over the cost
of the refurbishment and over Johnson's private communications
over the sourcing of COVID-19 ventilators.

He also said the prime minister and his office had fallen
below acceptable standards of competence and integrity.

Johnson's office said the government had followed the rules
over the refurbishment. The prime minister had not interfered in
a government leak inquiry, his office said on Friday.

Labour called for a full investigation. "It matters because
it's about integrity and it's about taypayers' money," Labour
leader Keir Starmer told BBC television.

"You've got the former most senior adviser to the prime
minister saying he's fallen well below the standards of
integrity that are needed for the office of the prime minister.
Every day there's more evidence of this sleaze and frankly it
stinks," he said.

Earlier Labour also called for an independent commission on
ethics and standards in government to be set up.

Johnson's office had no additional comment on Saturday.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Ros Russell)

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