Monday, 2 Aug 2021

Boris Johnson’s phone number was available to access online ‘for last 15 years’

Boris Johnson is a 'vacuum of integrity' says Lucas

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The contact number was published at the bottom of a 2006 press release, when Mr Johnson was shadow higher education minister. The document was still available to access online in 2021.

Earlier this month, reports suggested that senior officials had urged the Prime Minister to change his number over concerns about how many people were contacting him directly.

Popbitch, the celebrity and gossip website, revealed the story that Mr Johnson’s phone number was available online for anyone who searched for it.

Downing Street declined to comment on the report.

The press release related to his work as a shadow minister and asked journalists to contact Mr Johnson directly on either his mobile or a Commons office number.

According to PA, attempts to call the number on Thursday night were met with an automated message which said the phone was “switched off” and invited the caller to “please try later or send a text”.

Mr Johnson’s mobile phone has been under the spotlight in recent weeks after text message exchanges with entrepreneur Sir James Dyson and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were leaked.

Downing Street refused to deny that Simon Case, the head of the civil service, told the Prime Minister to change his phone number because his current one was too widely known.

Mr Johnson has also faced pressure to reveal how refurbishments for his Downing Street flat were paid for after his ex-adviser, Dominic Cummings, claimed there was a plan for donors to “secretly pay”.

On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission launched a formal investigation into the funding of works on the Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat.

The watchdog announced: “We are now satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred.”

The Westminster row centres around how exactly a bill was settled for refurbishment work done last year on the flat above No 11 Downing Street where Mr Johnson lives with his fiancee Carrie Symonds.

Under Cabinet Office rules, the taxpayer covered £30,000 of the bill.

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However, it is unclear who initially covered the remaining amount which is said to be about £58,000, according to the Daily Mail.

The watchdog said that it is the Conservative Party itself, rather than Mr Johnson, that is the “subject of the investigation”.

On Thursday, Mr Johnson said he will comply with the investigation into the funding of his flat revamp.

But he added: “I don’t think there is anything to see here or worry about, but what we are doing is focusing on the stuff that really matters.”

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