The National:

BORIS Johnson wanted to build a £150,000 treehouse at Chequers, it has been revealed – and it would have been funded by a donor who played a central role in another infamous saga of the Prime Minister's.

The UK may be in a cost of living crisis, but thanks to the Union that Labour insists Scotland cannot even have a vote on, a lawbreaker-in-chief who thinks that’s a sensible use of money is who will be steering the ship.

The plan for the extortionately priced add-on in the grounds of the Prime Minister's traditional country house has been revealed by The Times, and it only fell through because of security concerns.

The paper was told that Johnson and wife Carrie plotted the treehouse in 2020 for their son Wilf.

The National: Boris Johnson

At least, that was the claim. Just earlier this week, a Tory by-election candidate hid in a dance studio to avoid facing the media over a humiliating defeat. Boris Johnson famously ducked into a fridge to avoid tough questions. And we’ve even seen Douglas Ross hiding from our reporter in a lift.

A £150k treehouse sounds like a rather useful spot for the Tory leader to avoid scrutiny... 

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The story has also served as a reminder of another angle of the Conservative Party’s recent horrific headlines – because sources told the paper that there were discussions on Tory donor Lord Brownlow funding it.

Does that name sound familiar? It should.

Brownlow put up £112,000 towards the refurbishment of the flat above No 11 Downing Street after Boris and Carrie moved in.

The Electoral Commission ruled that the party had broken the law by failing to disclose some of the donation and was fined – Johnson repaid the money.

He was accused of “corruption, plain and simple” earlier this year after his ethics adviser released damning text messages he exchanged with Tory donor Brownlow.

The messages showed that despite telling his ethics tsar, Lord Christopher Geidt, who has since resigned, that he had no idea how the revamp was being funded, Johnson had personally asked for more cash for the project months earlier.

The National: Lord Geidt resigned from his roleLord Geidt resigned from his role

In the messages, Johnson asks the former Tory Party vice-chair to approve more funding for the flat renovation as it was “still a bit of a tip”. He finishes by saying that he is “on the great exhibition plan”.

The Tory peer replied that “approval is a doddle” as he knew where the cash was and the “Trust isn’t set up yet”, and thanked the Prime Minister for “thinking about GE2”.

This “Great Exhibition 2.0” was apparently a pet project of Brownlow’s, and he met with then culture secretary Oliver Dowden to discuss the idea in January 2021.

Dowden resigned this week (are you seeing a theme, here?) as Tory Party chairman after disastrous by-election results for the party.

Number 10 denied any link between Brownlow funding Johnson’s flat revamp and the meeting with the Culture Secretary.

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The treehouse was abandoned because of security fears that it could be seen from a nearby road, The Times said.

The design would have included bulletproof glass, though it's not clear what else was inflating the price-tag to such an extent.

One UK Government source told The Times that the PM had also been advised “it would look terrible” to be splashing this much cash on the treehouse.

The real story here would be Boris Johnson finally caring about how morally acceptable something looks.

Brownlow did not respond to the paper’s request for the comment, but a government spokesman said: “We do not comment on private or family matters which do not involve any ministerial declarations or taxpayer funds.”