Yet, when he was given countless opportunities by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions to clear up these money matters, he blustered repeatedly – and, instead, tried to focus on issues of policy.
And, by busking it in the manner he chose, Mr Johnson risked bringing his office, and own reputation, into even further disrepute when this issue is such a basic one – how was the £58,000 refurbishment cost initially repaid before he found a way to stump up the money?
A question that any family undertaking renovation work would be able to answer without hesitation, the PM’s obfuscation only added to the inevitability of the Electoral Commission inquiry now under way after the watchdog determined that there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect an offence may have occurred.
Now there will be some who sympathise with Mr Johnson, and his fiancée Carrie Symonds, and that the country has far more pressing priorities than their reported £9,800 sofa, £840-a-roll wallpaper and new curtains.
Indeed, it does. But it is also the Prime Minister who is required to lead by example when it comes to upholding standards in public life and that total transparency over political donations, gifts or loans is a safeguard that is even more essential when set in the context of other lobbying and cronyism scandals that are also troubling Mr Johnson. What is required is a swift resolution to this ‘cash for curtains’ farce – and the full facts published – so that the Government can give its fullest attention to the pandemic response, provided, of course, that the PM has not misled Parliament. Now that would be an altogether more serious offence.