Boris Johnson appoints Sky senior executive as business adviser after being lent his £9.5m Westminster flat
Labour immediately seizes on the appointment, saying: 'The public would be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that Johnson's friends can buy influence with the new administration'
Boris Johnson has appointed one of Sky’s senior executives as his business adviser, just days after it emerged the multi-millionaire had lent his £9.5m Westminster flat to the incoming prime minister.
As the newly-appointed Tory leader prepared to unveil his top team on Wednesday, it emerged Andrew Griffith, a chief finance director at the broadcaster, will enter Downing Street with Mr Johnson.
Labour immediately seized on the appointment, saying: “The public would be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that Johnson’s friends can buy influence with the new administration.”
It comes after the Guardian reported last week that Mr Griffith’s central London townhouse was being utilised by the ex-foreign secretary as his campaign base during the final days of the Tory leadership contest.
Mr Griffith’s residence was also being used by Mr Johnson, who replaces Theresa May in Downing Street on Wednesday, as a space to meet allies as he planned his first 100 days in office.
The Financial Times claimed Mr Griffith’s role will involve nurturing ties between the new prime minister and the business world, which could prove difficult given Mr Johnson’s willingness to take Britain out of the bloc without a deal on 31 October.
Responding to the announcement, Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett said: “Before he is even appointed prime minister, one of Boris Johnson’s first acts is to dish out a powerful job in No 10 to his super-rich pal who lent him his luxurious house in Westminster for the Tory leadership campaign.”
“It’s blindingly obvious – Boris Johnson and his government will act only in the interest of the wealthy elite.”
Before the new Conservative leader announces who will sit around the cabinet table in his new administration, it was also confirmed the Conservative MP Mark Spencer will become his chef whip.
It will be a critically important position for Mr Johnson, who will have a working Tory-DUP majority of just two as his attempts to govern and gain backing for his version of Brexit in a deeply divided parliament.
Despite the challenges facing him, the incoming prime minister was characteristically upbeat after his victory was announced in central London.
“We are once again going to believe in ourselves and what we can achieve,” he said.
“And like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity, with better education, better infrastructure, more police, fantastic full-fibre broadband sprouting in every household – we are going to unite this amazing country and we are going to take it forward.”
Sir Edward Lister, who worked with Mr Johnson during his tenure as mayor of London, will also be chief-of staff to the new Conservative leader in Downing Street alongside three deputies.