Conservatives fined £17,800 for breaking law over Downing Street flat

The bad news keeps on coming for Boris Johnson with the Electoral Commission handing out a fine for law-breaking over the infamous Downing Street flat refurbishment:

And crucially there’s this:

Here is more detail from the Electoral Commission:

Our investigation looked at whether any transactions relating to works at 11 Downing Street fell within the party finance regime regulated by the Commission and whether any such transactions were recorded and reported as required.

The evidence showed that the Conservative Party received a donation of £67,801.72 from Huntswood Associates Limited in October 2020 – £52,801.72 of which was to cover the cost of three invoices relating to the refurbishment of Downing Street. £15,000 was reported as a donation in the party’s Q4 2020 donation report; the remaining £52,801.72 was not.

Our investigation concluded that the full amount of the £67,801.72 was a donation and should have been reported to the Commission. We also concluded that the reference to the payment made by the party for the refurbishment in the party’s financial records was not accurately recorded.

The investigation found that decisions relating to the handling and recording of these transactions reflected serious failings in the party’s compliance systems. The registered treasurer had a responsibility to put in place systems appropriate to a party with a complex internal infrastructure and substantial sums of money coming into its accounts. However, in this instance, the payment was incorrectly described in internal records and the full value of the donation was not correctly identified and reported. Consequently, it was not included in our donation publication.

The Commission considered other payments relating to the refurbishment works; they were not judged to be reportable donations, and so we found no offences in relation to those payments.

For the offence of failing to accurately report the full value of the donation from Huntswood Associates, the Commission has imposed a penalty of £16,250. For contravening the requirement to keep proper accounting records, a penalty of £1,550 has been imposed.

You can read the full report here.

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