Boris Johnson ‘planned £150,000 treehouse for son Wilf at Chequers but was forced to scrap idea after police raised security fears’
- Boris Johnson wanted to build a £150,000 treehouse for his son Wilf at Chequers
- It was abandoned after PM’s close protection officers ‘raised security concerns’
- Police said treehouse could be a security risk as it might be visible from the road
- Tory donor Lord Brownlow was reportedly contacted about funding the project
Boris Johnson wanted to build a £150,000 treehouse fitted with bulletproof glass for his son at Chequers but was forced to scrap the plan after ‘police raised security fears’, it has emerged.
The Prime Minister reportedly wanted to use money from Conservative donor Lord Brownlow to build the luxurious playhouse for his son Wilf.
Even though No 10 aides warned Johnson it would cost more than buying a house in some parts of the country, the project was only scrapped when the PM’s close protection officers suggested it could be a security risk as the treehouse might be visible from the road.
Boris and Carrie Johnson (pictured on Friday in Rwanda) wanted to build a £150,000 treehouse for their son Wilf at Chequers but were forced to scrap the plan after ‘police raised security fears’
Chequers, bequeathed to the nation in 1917 by Lord and Lady Lee of Fareham, is part-funded with a grant from the Cabinet Office
Plans were drawn up for the £150,000 treehouse for Wilf, which would have been fitted with bulletproof glass (File image)
Sources said Johnson and his wife Carrie wanted to build the treehouse in the autumn of 2020, according to The Times.
There were also reportedly worries about whether such a large donation would be seen as a conflict of interest, especially considering Brownlow’s involvement in the scandal of Johnson’s Downing St flat refurbishment.
The refurbishments to the flat in No 11 sparked sustained scrutiny of Mr Johnson’s finances, with the works vastly exceeding the £30,000 annual limit afforded to the Prime Minister.
Conservative Party accounts published today said its central office provided a ‘bridging loan’ of £52,802 to cover the works after being invoiced by the Cabinet Office in June 2020.
The party was ‘reimbursed in full’ in October by Lord Brownlow, a former vice-chairman of the party who has made more than £3million in donations over the years.
Boris and Carrie Johnson at the PM’s country residence, Chequers, in Buckinghamshire
Conservative Party accounts show that Lord Brownlow, a former vice-chairman of the party who has made more than £3million in donations over the years, provided more than £52,000 to cover some of the costs of Boris Johnson’s lavish Downing Street renovations
Mr Johnson then ‘settled the costs’ incurred by the Conservative peer in March.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Lord Brownlow.
After the electoral commission said the Tories had broken the law by not disclosing all of the donation the Party was fined and Johnson paid back the money.
MailOnline has contacted the Prime Minister and Lord Brownlow for comment.
Who is Tory peer Lord Brownlow?
David Brownlow, Baron of Shurlock Row, 57, is an entrepreneur who has had ties with the Conservative party for at least 15 years.
Sitting at 521st on The Sunday Times rich list, Lord Brownlow made his estimated £271 million fortune through recruitment firm Huntswood CTC and later in private equity.
His business empire now covers travel, fashion and hospitality and property – and even includes a chain of gastropubs in southern England.
Originally from Liverpool, he studied economics at Newcastle Polytechnic, before moving south to join Thames Valley Police force in Slough. But his law enforcement aspiration did not stick and instead he found himself moving into recruitment.
Lord Brownlow has been involved in several philanthropic ventures, setting up the David Brownlow Charitable Foundation in 2013 which focuses on work involving communities ‘where there is an element of disadvantage’ in Berkshire where he is based.
He has also been involved in the The Prince’s Countryside Fund and is a trustee of the Royal Albert Hall.
Brownlow has connections with the last three Conservative Prime Ministers. His donations to the Tories started in 2005, the year David Cameron took the party’s leadership. Since then he has donated around £3million to the party frequently in smaller amounts.
He dined with former PM Theresa May at Chequers in November 2017, shortly after vice-chairman of the party in July, a position he held until July 2020.
Following her resignation in 2019, May recommended Lord Brownlow for a life peerage.
He also donated £100,000 to the pro-EU Stronger In campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum.