Pressure mounts on British PM Johnson over apartment refit before local elections

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LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – Pressure mounted on Boris Johnson as the ruling Conservative Party’s polling lead shrank ahead of local elections, and the leader of the Scottish Tories said the British Prime Minister should quit if he’s found to have broken rules over the funding of refurbishments to his apartment.

Mr Johnson is under investigation over who paid for the works to his official residence at 11 Downing Street and when, and whether the payments were properly declared. He’s insisted there’s been no wrongdoing and that he met the costs himself.

But weeks of negative coverage from the UK media over “sleaze” allegations tied to the flat refurbishment culminated last week in the launch of three probes.

Polls in the weekend papers suggested that’s dented the Tory Party’s popularity, and on Sunday (May 2), Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross told BBC News that “of course” Mr Johnson should resign if he’s found to have broken the Ministerial Code.

“People should expect the highest standards of those in the highest office of the land,” Mr Ross told the BBC. “It’s right that we look to have serious questions answered.”

The comments pile more pressure on the prime minister, who’s repeatedly refused to say whether he took an undeclared loan from a political donor to cover the refitting costs.

Rules don’t apply

“It’s appalling that we are in a situation where he won’t come clean about who lent him money or gave him money and what favours or promises may have been given in return,” Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy told Sky News.

“This is a prime minister who frankly thinks that the rules don’t apply to him.”

Mr Johnson has called the story a “farrago of nonsense”, and during heated exchanges in the House of Commons on Wednesday denied any rules were broken. He was asked three times by opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer to say who initially had covered the costs, but declined to answer.

The Electoral Commission, which regulates political donations, announced a probe into the refurbishment last week, saying “there are