THE Conservative Party has been fined £17,800 for failing to keep proper records over a donation to refurbish Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

An Electoral Commission investigation found that the party failed to fully report a donation of £67,801.72 from Huntswood Associates Limited in October 2020, including £52,801.72 connected to the costs of refurbishment to 11 Downing Street – where the Prime Minister lives.

Crucially, it found that Johnson knew who was providing the funding – despite the Tory leader having previously insisted to his ethics adviser that he did not know.

The revelation sparked further calls from the SNP for Johnson to stand down.

Louise Edwards, director of regulation at the Electoral Commission, said: “Our investigation into the Conservative Party found that the laws around the reporting and recording of donations were not followed.

“We know that voters have concerns about the transparency of funding of political parties.

“Reporting requirements are in place so that the public can see where money is coming from, inaccurate reporting risks undermining trust in the system.

“The party’s decisions and actions reflected serious failings in its compliance systems.

“As a large and well-resourced political party that employs compliance and finance experts, and that has substantial sums of money going through its accounts, the Conservative Party should have sufficiently robust systems in place to meet its legal reporting requirements.”

The National: Boris Johnson has confirmed that Plan B will be introduced in England  Picture: PA

The Electoral Commission said that Huntswood Associates Limited – whose director is Tory peer Lord Brownlow – transferred £67,801.72 to the Conservative Party on October 19, 2020.

Some £15,000 of that amount was for an event, but the commission said he “specifically identified the remaining £52,801.72 as a donation to cover an earlier payment of that value made by the party to the Cabinet Office”.

The Cabinet Office had paid three invoices over summer 2020, totalling the same amount, for the refurbishment of the Prime Minister’s flat at 11 Downing Street, and these were made on the agreement that the sum would be repaid by the party.

But the commission said that in donation records submitted on January 27, 2021, while the party reported the £15,000 from Huntswood Associates, it failed to report the £52,801.72.

The commission also concluded that the reference in the party’s financial records to the payment of £52,801.72 made by the party for the refurbishment was not accurate as it was referred to as a “blind trust loan”.

However a trust to refurbish the flat had not been created.

The report found that Johnson sent a WhatsApp message to Lord Brownlow in November 2020 asking for more funds for the refurbishment. 

However, during an investigation in May, the PM told his ethics adviser that he was not aware who was behind the funding.

Ian Blackford commented: "The truth and Boris Johnson are strangers. He simply cannot be allowed to remain as Prime Minister. He either resigns or he needs to be removed."

After conducting a review, Lord Geidt found Johnson acted “unwisely” in allowing the refurbishment to go ahead without “more rigorous regard for how this would be funded”, but did not breach the ministerial code.

The Tories are considering whether to appeal against the fine.

A party spokesman said: “The Conservative Party has received notification from the Electoral Commission that, in their judgment, the manner in which a payment was reported represented a technical breach of reporting requirements under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act.

“We have been in constant contact with the Electoral Commission with regards to this matter and have sought their advice as to how the transaction should be reported since it was made.

“We are considering whether to appeal this decision and will make a decision within 28 working days.”