Scrutiny on Johnson over the refurbishment of his No 11 flat has refused to abate despite Downing Street’s efforts to draw a line under the issue.
A No 10 spokeswoman said renovation costs of Johnson’s living quarters, beyond those provided for by the £30,000 annual allowance, had been “met by the prime minister personally”, adding: “Conservative Party funds are not being used for this.”
But with Labour calling for answers on how the work was funded, the Daily Mail alleged Johnson told colleagues the bill was escalating out of control, while his chief of staff Dan Rosenfield felt the refurbishment was a “crazy arrangement” and a “mess”.
Watch: What is the row between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings all about?
The newspaper said that when aides asked the prime minister how much the upgrades were costing, Johnson replied: “Tens and tens of thousands – I can’t afford it.”
The investigation into the flat refurb is the latest in a slew of allegations made against Johnson during his time in politics.
Last week it was claimed that Johnson told aides he would rather let coronavirus “rip” than impose a lockdown last year.
His official spokesman said the prime minister’s actions were being distorted, in words that did not amount to a denial, unlike No 10’s strong rejection of the suggestion Johnson said in October he would rather see “bodies pile high” than announce a third lockdown.
The claim came after text messages showed that Johnson texted British entrepreneur Sir James Dyson to tell him he had “fixed” a tax issue for his request that overseas staff would not have to pay additional tax if they came to the UK to work on a ventilator project at the height of the pandemic in spring 2020.
Johnson has also been hit with allegations over his conduct with American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, who made fresh allegations last month that she and the prime minister had a four-year romantic relationship when he was London mayor.
Arcuri’s links with Johnson came under public scrutiny last year over allegations she received favourable treatment for her business ventures during his eight-year stint as mayor.
Meanwhile, Parliament’s sleaze watchdog is continuing to investigate Johnson over his £15,000 winter break to the Caribbean in 2019.
The prime minister and his partner Carrie Symonds accepted accommodation for a private break in St Vincent and the Grenadines as a post-election victory escape.
But confusion reigned after Johnson declared in the register of MPs’ interests that he had accepted “accommodation for a private holiday for my partner and me, value £15,000”, citing Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross as the provider.
A spokesman for Ross denied that he had stumped up any money but he later clarified his stance, agreeing it was a “benefit in kind” to the PM and Symonds during their private break to the island of Mustique.
Watch: Boris Johnson denies 'bodies pile high' comment