Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Boris Johnson under investigation for mystery funding of apartment renovation

The U.K.'s Electoral Commission on Wednesday announced an investigation into allegations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had Conservative Party donors "secretly pay" for a renovation of his apartment at No. 11 Downing Street.

Why it matters: It's unprecedented for a sitting prime minister to face this kind of investigation, which could result in a fine of up to £20,000 and a referral to police if the violations are serious, according to The Times of London.


What they're saying: “We have been in contact with the Conservative Party since late March and have conducted an assessment of the information they have provided to us," the Electoral Commission said in a statement.

  • "We are now satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred. We will therefore continue this work as a formal investigation to establish whether this is the case."

Background: Prime ministers receive an annual public grant of £30,000 to renovate their homes, but there was speculation that Johnson and his fiancée spent as much as £200,000 on a luxury refurbishment — which Downing Street insists was paid for out of their own pocket.

  • It is not illegal for prime ministers to accept loans or donations, but they must be publicly declared within 28 days.
  • In response to questions about the funding of the apartment, Johnson said: "If there's anything to be said about that, any declaration to be made, that will of course be made in due course."

The big picture: The allegations became much more serious when Dominic Cummings, Johnson's controversial former top aide, claimed he told the PM that his "plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended."

  • Cummings, considered one of the chief architects of the Brexit campaign, ended his tumultuous tenure at Downing Street after falling out with Johnson over staffing issues last year.
  • His allegations about the apartment are part of a broader leak scandal that includes reports that Johnson said he'd rather let "bodies pile high in their thousands" than impose another coronavirus lockdown in England.

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

Keep reading... Show less

UN: 10,000 Palestinians flee homes in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Seven people, including one child, have been killed in Israel, according to Israeli authorities.

Keep reading... Show less

Bernie Sanders: The U.S. must recognize that "Palestinian rights matter"

The United States must encourage an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and adopt an "evenhanded approach" that recognizes Palestinians and Israelis have a right to "live in peace and security," Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote in a New York Times opinion on Friday.

Driving the news: Violence escalated this week after Israelis intensified efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Hamas fired rockets and Israel massed troops, leaving more than 125 Palestinians and seven people in Israel dead.

Keep reading... Show less

Uber launches new anti-racism efforts, hires new inclusive design lead

Eager to show progress on the pledge to make its platform and business anti-racist, Uber on Friday announced new anti-racism driver and rider campaigns, as well as fresh internal hiring practices, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Uber is one of the biggest ride hailing companies in the world. Its decisions impact the millions that use the platform, where drivers and riders alike say they have experienced racism.

Keep reading... Show less

Ex-Gaetz associate admits to sex trafficking, agrees to cooperate with federal prosecutors

Joel Greenberg, a former associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and admitted to a variety of federal charges including sex trafficking a minor, New York Times reported Friday citing court papers.

Why it matters: Investigators believe Greenberg introduced women to Gaetz for paid sex and are looking into the Florida congressman's alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Greenberg could be a key witness as federal prosecutors decide whether to charge Gaetz.

Keep reading... Show less

White House: User fees for infrastructure deal would "violate" Biden's tax pledge

The White House on Friday said that Republicans' idea to impose user fees for infrastructure spending would "violate" President Biden's promise not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 annually.

What they're saying: "The president's pledge and his commitment, his line in the sand, his red line, whatever you want to call it, is that he will not raise taxes for people making less than $400,000 a year," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. "User fees that have been proposed out there would violate that."

Keep reading... Show less

City of Columbus, Andre Hill's family agree to $10M settlement over the fatal police shooting

Columbus, Ohio, on Friday reached a $10 million settlement with the family of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot by police as he walked out of a garage while holding a cellphone.

What they're saying: "We understand that because of this former officer's actions, the Hill family will never be whole," City Attorney Zach Klein said in a statement. "No amount of money will ever bring Andre Hill back to his family, but we believe this is an important and necessary step in the right direction."

Keep reading... Show less

"Mass Effect": Gaming's biggest space opera returns

The iconic spacefaring adventure "Mass Effect" is back today with "Mass Effect: Legendary Edition," a single, remastered version of all three games.

Why it matters: There is no series like "Mass Effect" — even when it comes to BioWare's other choice-driven RPGs like "Dragon Age." "Mass Effect" is a big ol' space adventure first and foremost, but it’s also about loyalty, love, and tough calls.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories